COOL JAZZ TO WARM YOUR SOUL

Paul Combs hosts CD release party at Press Room
As we anxiously await the arrival of spring (while also hoping that the snow god will leave us alone for a while) the local jazz scene begins to heat up with a variety of different events over the next two weeks. Here is a look at what is going on.

On Friday night, Jan. 19, Paul Combs and Friends will host a CD Release Party at the Press Room on Daniel Street in Portsmouth, at 9 p.m. Along with saxophonist/flutist Combs will be Rich Greenblatt on vibes, Jay Ford on guitar, Paul Ebersole on bass, and Rick Hanson on drums.

Combs has spent the past 20 years performing around the Seacoast area, primarily as a member of Ray DeMarco's Street Level Swing. He has also performed with pianist Larry Garland, and guitarist Ken Ormes. Combs most often can be found performing on baritone and soprano saxophone, as well as on flute and alto flute. On his CD, 'Hawk's Delight,' Combs focuses his playing on baritone, alto and tenor saxes.

'Hawk's Delight' is a pleasant-to-good recording that covers a broad period in Combs' development from 1980 to 1992. Combs places himself in duo, quartet and quintet settings with pleasing results. The strongest cuts feature Combs' robust baritone sax playing, such as on the title track "Hawk's Delight," or on Horace Silver's "Barbara." The duo tracks have more of a mixed result, but are enjoyable, especially Sonny Rollins' "Sonnymoon For Two," and a particularly stunning version of "On The Trail" featuring Combs' thoughtful tenor sax and the probing piano of Larry Garland.

Available on the BoMuse Transcriptions label, Combs refers to 'Hawk's Delight' as "'an album' of performances in the same sense as a photo album." A good first effort by this promising reed player, 'Hawk's Delight' will be available at the Press Room shows.
-Alan Chase, Spotlight, vol.7, no. 3, Jan. 18, 1996