Now he releases the double EP G2 and You and Bright Days on the G2 label. The two EPs combine to form an eight-song album. And once more, there is nothing quite so cool as hearing David Larsen play that baritone saxophone.
G2 and You is an excellent mixture of originals and standards, playing well by Denny McCollim on keyboards, Josh Skinner on bass, and Brendan McMurphy on drums. All three of those were on 2021’s Deviate from Standards and it should come as no surprise to see them here, as well. These four have an understanding of each other’s playing and vision that makes them reach beyond themselves. Indeed, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
The album opens with Angel Eyes by Matt Dennis, introduced in the 1953 movie, Jennifer. The song has been covered and reinterpreted by dozens of artists from Nat King Cole to Frank Sinatra to Joe Lavano. Ella Fitzgerald recorded it four times and dubbed it her favorite song. Larsen and Company have given the song their own take and it is splendid. I can’t get enough. Dave Brubeck’s 1956 standard In Your Own Sweet Way is another triumph for the quartet. The covers are brilliant and Larsen always take special ownership of these classics.
The same thing happens with Joseph Kosma’s Autumn Leaves and Johnny Mercer’s Come Rain or Come Shine. While the songs are immediately recognizable, Larsen and the fellas give them a turn that is something special and extraordinary.
But then there are the Larsen originals that just set your heart in motion. Another Porter Please is one sweet tune as Larsen turns in the smoothest baritone sax you could ever hope to hear. The intonations are warm and relaxed and the band is right on it. The same goes for Latin Silver. That Latin rhythm and the percussive playing of McCollim’s electric piano is just how we like it. This could be my favorite track on the album.
Larsen’s Bright Days is an electrifying number that is wonderfully delivered by the piano, bass, and drums underneath Larsen’s baritone. The cool electric piano solo is so fine and the rhythm section keeps everything in the groove. The album concludes with Larsen’s Through and Through. It is warm and lyrical, a song of delight and joy. It is the longest track of the album and thank goodness for it. I wanted this to just keep going. The acoustic piano sets marvelously with the bass and drums and McCollim’s solo is so satisfying. This is a thing of great beauty.
David Larsen’s G2 and You is a brilliant exposition of Larsen’s reinvention of Jazz standards and a journey into his own compositions, both of which reveal his artistry and skill and, above all, the heart of the man. This is music for the emotional and the intelligent.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl