It takes a lifetime to be able to play the eight-bar solo that saxophonist Don Lanphere delivers on the title tune of this gently autumnal album. Lanphere, who hails originally from Wenatchee, came up as a wild and wailing bebopper, recording in New York with Fats Navarro and Max Roach before he was 20.
But Lanphere's swashbuckling lines, slurred attack, and achingly vulnerable, lowing tone always betrayed his swing roots. The romance of same is evident in this program of lush ballads, recorded with Lanphere's dependable group - Marc Seales (piano), Doug Miller (bass), John Bishop (drums), Jonathan Pugh (trumpet), and Jeff Hay (trombone).
They open boldly with Seales' pastel, daydreaming "Ragazza de la Mer," inspired by a Provence landscape. Hay's trombone croons high through Jim Hall's "All Across the City" and Miller's "Ming's Dream"; Seales is bright and sassy on Pugh's shuffle, "Blues Away." "Wilke's Grin," named for popular KPLU DJ Jim Wilke, is a driving, Elvin Jones-like number with a rich, three-horn line and Don slaloming through the changes like a kid on a waterslide.
But it's the romantic ballads, like the closing "Cottage For Sale," that really showcase Lanphere the local elder, a veteran whose 74 years reverberate through every note.