The aggressive eloquence of David Schnitter's tenor saxophone came to the attention of the jazz community during his several years with Art Blakey in the '70s. Without question he is one of the leading young interpreters of bop and beyond, and his several visits a year to the One Step Down have shown him to be a consistently maturing musician with a voice increasingly his own.
Last night he again proved an exciting player who can run as though the Furies are in pursuit, as he did on several numbers in the opening set. One of these, "Blues for John," kept the melody nearly always present, if fleetingly, but another was a windswept musicscape of repeated notes and every lick in the book.
As torrid as he was on these, he was rhapsodic with stretched out notes, big spaces and a sensuous breathiness on "Sophisticated Lady."
Marc Cohen's piano complemented the varied attack of the leader, now with lean and sparse lines, now with thickly textured chordal improvisations. Bassist Drew Gress was very supportive and got off some singing solos. Hugh Walker, at the drums, powered the up-tempo numbers with demon energy and was gentle and merely felt on the ballads.
The quartet performs again this evening.