Strunkin’ is baritone saxophonist Leigh Pilzer’s first recording as a bandleader. She is joined by Jen Krupa on trombone, Sherrie Maricle on drums, Amy Shook on bass, and Jackie Warren on piano; long-time friends and colleagues from The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and the critically acclaimed show Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life.
The musicians’ shared love and respect for straight-ahead, swinging jazz is evident throughout the CD—six original compositions by Leigh and one each by Amy and Jen—starting with the Konitz-inspired title track and continuing with the Ellingtonesque “Miss Ally in Allyworld,” the blues-drenched sass of Amy’s “Brag Time,” the reimagined bebop of Jen’s “Duel at Dawn,” and more.
Strunkin’ was recorded live at the 6th Annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival by Grammy-winning engineer Charlie Pilzer at Allyworld, the dual-purpose performance/tracking space at Airshow in Takoma Park, MD.
“The depth of knowledge and musical prowess Leigh Pilzer exhibits on the baritone saxophone, clearly displays she is more than ready for her debut, and Strunkin’ establishes her as a formidable presence not to be taken lightly.”—H. Allen Williams, JazzTimes
“Pilzer blows the big horn with the technique and panache of Mulligan, Challoff, Payne, Cuber, Temperley and just about any other baritone saxist you care to mention and after you’ve listened to Miss Ally in Allywood, you’ll add Harry Carney to the mix.”—Bebop Spoken Here
You’re likely to have heard the baritone saxophonist Leigh Pilzer nestled into a large ensemble—with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra or any number of others. But on her debut album, recorded live at the 2016 Washington Women in Jazz Festival, her bari takes the lead. Fronting a straight-ahead quintet, she improvises with fluency and panache. —CapitolBop