TONY LUSTIG

Hard Bop • United States
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Tony Lustig is a dynamic saxophonist hailing from Detroit, Michigan – arguably the most soulful city in the world. As a young child, Tony was introduced to the world of music through the violin. Every week he would travel to his teacher’s home eager to learn; he was completely captivated by the sounds. His teacher’s name was Rona Hall, a wonderful, talented woman who changed the course of his life forever. He was taught very early on to learn music mostly by ear. It was stressed as an important skill that would benefit for years to come. Ms. Hall lit a fire in Tony’s heart so massive and inextinguishable he knew he had to devote his life to learning and sharing as much music as possible. As for the saxophone – learning that was almost by accident.

Being as there wasn’t a strings
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TONY LUSTIG Taking Flight album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Taking Flight
Hard Bop 2016

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TONY LUSTIG Taking Flight

Album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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Carmel
Out of the baritone saxophone pantheon rises Tony Lustig, in toe is a sterling crew of bandmates; Mike Dease on trombone, Samora Pinderhughes on piano, the very busy bassist Ben Williams , and the household name Ulysses Owens, Jr. on drums, delivering a power punch of eight originals that simultaneously challenge and enchant.

Though his release features accessible tunes that appeal to the center of the road, he is not afraid to take risks and step out and show his ability to create robust burning single note lines when needed, pushing the boundaries of conventionality.

Opening the album are two straight ahead numbers “Change is Coming” is infused with bluesy spirit and a light appeal that allows Lustig to bounce his baritone, while the supporting cast creates a swinging feel, and trombonist Dease, colors with muted trombone for added flavor. “Fraytown” is an old school soulful sound almost what you would hear on a Sunday afternoon get together of old friends. Its loose, soulful and bluesy, it’s a great vehicle for the players to stretch out with quick lines, or laid back romps, but just when you think you have figured out the vibe of the proceedings, Lustig changes his route with a barn burning modern tune "Prometheus," quick lines, burning solos and break neck speeds, the ensemble is on fire, and showing their New York roots with attitude and ample edge. If there was any question as to Lustig’s agility on this enormous horn, they are put aside immediately. Flurries of notes, a deep passionate round sound, Lustig articulates each note clearly and with command, leaving the listener breathless. Up next is, “For Wayne” a beautiful longing ballad featuring Lustig in an introspective mode in the upper register of his horn. The tune is open and spacious and shows that Lustig has the ability to utilize each part of his horn with command. “Taking Flight” is aptly titled, pianist Samora Pinderhughes creates engaging movement on the ivories, while Owens creates a vibrant textural experience under the ensemble that generates interest and propels the tune with masterful coloration. Owens really utilizes his kit on this tune, he is in such command of his instrument and on this cut he truly shows why he is a first call player. "Serving It Up" is just that, funkified jazz with a robust Adderley vibe, a quick turn to "On The Wings Of Icarus" is a beautiful waltz, again showing the groups full spectrum abilities. The sendoff "Burnin' Grease" has a cool 50s vibe that is playful and filled with plenty of shuffle. With a more than qualified date, filled with the movers and shakers of the today’s jazz scene in New York, this group of music makers fill out Lustig’s compositions with powerful performances that add up to much more than a blowing date. I hope we see much more from Lustig, as this debut does not ring as such, this is a seasoned well-conceived offering with memorable performances and ideas throughout.

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