Jeff Gaeth – Shoestrings
Hawaii saxophonist Jeff Gaeth has just released his new CD, “Shoestrings” from Puna Records. The smooth jazz recording features Gaeth on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones as well as flutes and keyboards. He is accompanied by Frank Musacchio, fretless bass, trombone; Ryan Teanio, guitar; Joshua Conneran, percussion. Additional musicians Steven Ryan, Carol Hocker and Neil Anderson round out the cast on “Shoestrings.”
Gaeth opts for the tenor saxophone as the lead voice on the opening cut Whether You Care as on the third track Breakout. One of my favorite moments on “Shoestrings” is the unison between Frank Musacchio on bass and Gaeth on tenor saxophone during the later part of Breakout. Gaeth’s tenor sound in this lower register has both a fullness and edge that pair well with the fretless bass of Musacchio. The two share a similar moment about 1/3 of the way into Three In The Morning.
You Know The Way features Gaeth on the alto saxophone above a wonderful smooth-Latin groove. It is somewhat reminiscent of the earlier recordings of the pre-smooth jazz group Spyro-Gyra. Gaeth’s alto sound fits the tune well, yet seems to possess a bit more edge than the sound of Jay Beckenstein’s alto.
Jeff Gaeth picks up the soprano saxophone only one time on the pop-ballad Legacy. Perhaps the two most intriguing cuts are the title track Shoestrings and what follows in Still The Same. The tenor sax, bass and banjo (Steven Ryan) unison is truly unique combination of instruments. Somehow the odd orchestration which later adds fiddle to the mix maintains the smooth jazz quality and presumably marketability.
Still The Same’s up-tempo samba harkens back to the sound of Chick Corea’s hit Spain. Here it is Gaeth on alto sax along with Musaccio’s trombone.
One might guess that Gaeth’s favorite saxophone voice is that of the tenor. It is interesting to note that the sound of his alto saxophone shows a contrast between Wherever You Are (for Denni) and Undecided. The sound of his alto on Undecided is smoother with less edge. I’m curious as to what may have contributed to that fact. It is possible the answer lies in micing technique, studio hardware/software set up, reeds or mouthpieces. Whatever the case, it is clear from the production throughout “Shoestrings” that Jeff Gaeth has his studio chops together and has produced a high quality, enjoyable recording for fans of smooth jazz.
- Skip Spratt
“Jeff Gaeth is a distinctive Saxophonist with that big Texas Tenor sound, reminiscent of a by-gone era, yet elegantly updated. His sound could very well be a sign of great things to come. His music is something sweet for the Jazz Lover with a taste for big melodies, seasoned with improvisation and strong production values. You will enjoy Jeff; I always do.”
- Gene Harris Jr.