Sax players who can realize each of the distinctly gorgeous tones within the soprano, alto and tenor are tough to find. One horn, usually the soprano, suffers. If you add to this a weighty sound on flute and alto flute Craig Yaremko may be the only player left standing. This brawny sound is perfect for going toe to toe with Matt King’s meaty B3 and is the spirit of the diverse CYO3. With drummer Jonathan Peretz deftly navigating a variety of rhythms, the trio tackles Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Freddie Hubbard and six varied originals.
CYO3 showcases the B3 sound but not in a traditional greasy manner. Well, sometimes it does that too, such as on the gospel-infused closer “The Light” but here the organ’s muscularity is wide-ranging. The opener is King’s drunken arrangement of Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz”. It presages the session with its changing rhythms and styles. King’s arrangement of Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” is, by contrast, a brilliantly-put-together take on this classic, pairing rich alto flute with King’s thick chords and thumping bass.
Yaremko’s originals are cohesive modern jazz statements. “Blue Fontaine” is a mysterious spy-versus-spy blues while “Oil Slick“ is a smooth bop excursion benefiting greatly from the crisp clean lines of guest guitarist Vic Juris. The beautiful ballad structure of “Simply Stated” is elegantly served on a delicate percussive platter and “Sprung” has Yaremko using his flute to summon a breezy samba. King’s two originals, presented back-to-back, are lighter fare: “Beach Blanket Bebop”, though neither surfy or bop, has Peretz and Yaremko trading against the odd melody while “Three’s A Crowd” is an equally quirky setting for some smart sax work. Monk’s “Bye-Ya” rounds out this wide-ranging session with another stellar Juris/Yaremko joint effort.