The sky is the limit when tenor saxophone virtuoso Doug Webb turns his attention toward the "Bright Side" on his seventh release for Posi-Tone. Everything swings steadily as Webb plays with remarkable technical precision and a manifest knowledge of his materials. His tone is robust and extraordinarily well-centered, his articulation sharp, and his command of the tenor saxophone complete. Nevertheless, he is more than a mere technician, for his artistry is also considerable and this album is a crowning achievement for an artist who is as substantial a musician as jazz has ever produced. Along with the able assistance of an all-star group of label mates – who are of course all leaders in their own right – including organist Brian Charette, guitarist Ed Cherry, drummer Steve Fidyk, and special guest trumpet sensation Joe Magnarelli, Webb has fashioned a shining diadem of melodic jewels across a wide spectrum of styles and sounds! Critical listeners and casual fanatics everywhere will shine with intense delight as Webb soars onward and upward to new heights with "Bright Side".
Handel wrote Floridante in 1722 for a London audience infatuated with Italian opera. The plot, like that of so many Baroque operas, was taken from ancient history and concerns romantic liaisons thrown into turmoil by political rivalries, in this case between Persia and Tyre. Handel wrote over 50 Italian operas, and it's remarkable that he was consistently able to summon such a high level of inventiveness and inspiration when faced repeatedly with librettos that must have come to look depressingly alike in the conventions of their labyrinthine plots. Handel, however, had strong enough musical and dramatic convictions that he refused to make alterations to the score of Floridante that would have changed the opera's character, after London's Royal Academy of Music informed him that changes in the performing personnel would require him to rewrite the vocal parts. Handel eventually made some adjustments, but stood firm about others – a bold position, considering the relatively low status of composers in the world of opera at the time. After the premiere with a less-than-ideal cast, Handel restored the score to his original intentions and it's that version that's heard on this recording.