Saxophonist Dann Zinn has been releasing music since the 1980’s, with one of his first known appearances on a Frank Harris & Maria Marquez album on Ralph Records. Decades later, he is still playing with a very youthful spirit, but with the kind of style that shows age and experience, which is exactly what he offered on his new effort with the Dann Zinn 4, Grace’s Song (Z Music).
Most of the songs here are original compositions, and in a track like “Western Skies” you’re not sure if he’s playing two saxophones in a Rahsaan Roland Kirk style, or playing around with some guitar pedals/octave dividers, but it sounds pretty damn good, coming off like the commander of his troupe only for listeners to realize he is in a field all by himself. He can go off into these twisted guises but he finds himself settling into the fine groove, and one can’t help but put on a seatbelt (literal or otherwise) and go along with whatever rides he places in front of you. Also exceptional is his band, in this case featuring Alan Hall (drums), John Shifflett (bass), and Taylor Eigstl (piano). They sound like a united team, a crew of musketeers ready for any battles in front of them.
For the most part, the music here doesn’t bring up visions of war, including the album’s closer, Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust”, which Zinn dedicates to his father. The album ends peacefully and gracefully, which is what makes Grace’s Song work so well not only as a jazz album, but as an album of fantastic music. Period.