Jeremy Steig ‘Howlin’ for Judy’ CD (Blue Note) 3/5

Jeremy Steig was a relatively little known flautist whose main claim to fame came much later in the 1990s when the track ‘Howlin’ for Judy’ was a hit on the jazz dancefloor scene. This compilation brings together the two albums he recorded for Blue Note and Solid State while under the control of Liberty. The title track is a wonderful piece of left-field inspired jazz and in truth, nothing quite matches this. However, ‘Mint Tea’ evokes the influence of Roland Kirk and is an extended excursion for Steig. Throughout proceedings, Steig is accompanied by a pared-down accompaniment of Eddie Gomez on bass and Don Alias on drums and percussion. The recordings might have benefited from the occasional variation of piano or guitar. There is no questioning the skill of Steig, or the intensity of his playing as witnessed on ‘Alias’. However, as a whole, this ‘Rare Groove Series’ compilation is a little too one-dimensional and one is left wanting a temporary rest from the relentless flute improvisations.

Tim Stenhouse

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