Jaleel Shaw - Optimism features: Lage Lund: Guitar Robert Glasper: Piano Joe Martin: Bass Johnathan Blake: Drums Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet Optimism (Changu Records CR001), Jaleel Shaw's second CD as a leader, the award-winning alto saxophonist and composer further solidifies his position as one of the most distinctive writer/arrangers and imposing instrumentalists on today's international jazz scene. Shaw's nine originals and arrangements of two standards on Optimism, which he produced himself and is the first release on his new label Changu Records, continue to explore the ruggedly individualistic sonic landscapes the saxophonist first featured on his recording debut as a leader - 2005's Perspective (FS New Talent 222) which was named one of that year's top CDs by All About Jazz and Jazzwise. Writing in The New York Times, Nate Chinen praised that album as "...a showcase for Mr. Shaw's stout, self-assured alto saxophone playing and his smartly conceived original compositions." Chinen added that Shaw's ..."sound [is] brawny and full-bodied, but capable of quicksilver actions - and his improvisational method is surefooted and exploratory." Shaw, then 27, won his first ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for "Heavyweight Champion" on Perspective. The words "young lion" and "talent deserving wider recognition" are frequently bandied about when talking about emerging artists, but they certainly apply to Shaw. In 2007 he received enough votes to appear for the first time on the top-10 list of alto saxophone "Rising Stars" in the DownBeat International Jazz Critics Poll. Shaw's debut there is the result of a rising international profile and expanding solo career due to, among other creative associations, his having toured globally since 2005 as a member of Roy Haynes' quartet (and appearing on the legendary drummer's Grammy® nominated CD Whereas) and having been a member of the Mingus Big Band since 2000, appearing on their Grammy® nominated CDs "Tonight At Noon" and "I Am Three." Performances in 2007 with vibraphonist Stefon Harris and pianist Jason Moran added to the forward and upward momentum Shaw is currently experiencing as a player among players.
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