Steve Slagle, who knows?

by Paul Burmeister

As I have written in earlier posts, an interested or enthusiastic jazz listener begins to discover lesser-known talents and favorites. For example, Charlie Parker (who has attained god-like status), "Cannonball " Adderly, and David Sanborn are among the most well-known alto saxophonists. At the next level of name-recognition are players like Johnny Hodges, Jackie McLean, and Phil Woods. It takes a measure of interest or serendipity for the enthusiast to discover altoists such as Lee Konitz, Donald Harrison, or Steve Slagle.

My appreciation of Slagle, who also plays soprano, is mostly from his collaborations with guitarist Dave Stryker. My personal collection includes Steve Slagle Plays Monk (SteepleChase 1998) and The Stryker / Slagle Band (Khaeon 2003.) I recommend both discs for a natural interplay and empathy between two skillful veterans of the idiom. I found both in used bins—aahh, the overlooked treasures to be happened upon!