Can You Catch the 'Blue Innuendo' on Dave Anderson's New Label 1 Debut? [REVIEW]
Saxophonist/Composer Dave Anderson's Blue Innuendo (Label 1) is a sweet funky little affair with plenty of spillage by Hammond B3 organ hotshot Pat Bianchi (who almost steals the show). Guitarist Tom Guarna mostly stays out of the way except when he comes up for air with some tasty curly-cue soloing. Drummer Matt Wilson is content to be a timekeeper. Thus, Blue Innuendo is 10 tracks of all-original lite-jazz-plus. Hint: it's the "plus" that's important.
I say "plus" because of the negative connotation of "lite-jazz," which, if you've ever had the displeasure to be in earshot of radio calling itself such, you know it's nothing more than easy-listening pablum for people with no teeth so they could digest it and still think they're listening to jazz. Blue Innuendo rises above that, strives for artistic merit, occasionally achieves it, yet even when it doesn't is still funky enough to casually enjoy.
Anderson strides along mellifluously blowing both tenor and soprano. His 7:56 "Urban Dilemma" opener sets the scene on a busy action-packed day (to the point where you may think after this opening track, that there's going to be a lot more going on than there actually is).
Unfortunately, things settle down right quick and stay in a safe but pleasurable groooooove. "The Phantom (For Joe Henderson)" is the obvious highlight. Joe Henderson [1937-2001] was a sax man's sax man having traversed bebop, post-bop, soul-jazz and fusion.
There's a hint of Henderson within Anderson, the younger man having played in the band of the legendary Clark Terry [1920-2015] as well as backing up vocalist Mel Torme [1925-1999]. Anderson debuted in 2010 with Clarity, followed it up in 2011 with Trio Real. Both CDs were released in his hometown of Seattle.
Blue Innuendo is mainstream enough to get picked up on nationally in lite-jazz markets. It's radio-friendly, upbeat and I would pick the 3:40 "Two-Tone Tune" for the single.