Album Review of
The Sounds Around the House

Written by Joe Ross
December 12, 2020 - 10:40pm EST
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Tenor saxman Jeff Ellwood has impressive creds as teacher and performer, and his debut album is an excellent set of luminous, beautiful playing. Ellwood is a strong improviser with good tone, presence and command of the tenor.  Based in southern California, he is Director of Instrumental Jazz Studies at Mount San Antonio College and adjunct professor of jazz saxophone at Cal State Fullerton. Opening with his self-penned “U-R,” Ellwood establishes his identity as a smooth and outstanding player. The album also features Alan Pasqua (piano), Derek Oles (bass) and Joe Labarbera (drums). Performing with Pasqua’s band for seven years, Ellwood presents three of Pasqua’s compositions, “Agrodolche,” “Old School Blues” and “Barcelona.” Bob Shephard joins in as the second saxophonist on Dick Oatts’ lively “King Henry.” I also enjoyed the impressionistic sounds in “Provence,” a melodic piece from Detroit tenor sax player Rick Margitza, and “The Honeymoon” penned by bassist Derek Oles. A duet arranged for just sax and bass, “For Roger” closes the album on a mellow note. This is a soothing, charming musical set from Ellwood and a very solid band. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)