Tadd Dameron: Magic Continues


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Steve Enos
Tadd Dameron's final album was The Magic Touch for Riverside Records in 1962. Dameron would die three years later. In 2017, alto saxophonist Kent Engelhardt, coordinator of jazz studies at Ohio's Youngstown State University, and Steve Enos, a trumpeter and director of jazz studies at Ohio's Cuyahoga Community College, co-formed Madd for Tadd. The 15-piece band was dedicated to recreating and preserving Dameron's music. Engelhardt transcribed, edited and arranged the 10 songs that Dameron had scored for his Magic Touch album, plus five others. They Madd for Tadd recorded them.

The album is The Magic Continues, (Tighten Up). The musicians in Madd for Tadd are Kent Engelhardt (as, fl); David Sterner (as); Jason Kush (ts, fl); David Kana (ts); Tom Reed (bs); Steve Hawk and Joe Badaczewski (tp); Scott Belck (tp. conductor); Stephen Enos (tp, conductor); Sam Blakeslee and Chris Anderson (tb); Phil DeGreg (p); Dave Morgan, (b); Jim Rupp (d) and Erin Keckan (voc).

What's especially delightful about the album is hearing Dameron's original arrangements with a new shine. The group has Dameron's elegant swagger and swing, and the playing is rich with nuance, such as the warm reed-section parts. DeGreg's playing also is evocative of Dameron's poetic approach on the keyboard. [Photo above of Steve Enos.

The five Dameron songs that weren't on The Magic Touch are Good Bait (the Count Basie recording), Stay On It (Count Basie), For Europeans Only (Illinois Jacquet), My Dream (Harlan Leonard) and Half Step Down, Please (Coleman Hawkins). Album highlights include For Europeans Only; Our Delight; Half Step Down; Please; Bevan's Birthday; Swift as the Wind; Just Plain Talkin' and Stay On It.

If you love Tadd Dameron, this album is a must. The transcribed Dameron charts sound terrific in the hands of Madd for Tadd, like a 1962 Cadillac DeVille fully restored. Hats off to Engelhardt and Enos, and the entire band.

JazzWax clips: Here's the complete album...

Here's Tadd Dameron's entire The Magic Touch...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

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