Two new jazzmen
Tyler Blanton and Adam Schroeder
These two discs mark the impressive debuts of 29-year-old vibraphonist Tyler Blanton (Botanic) and 31-year-old baritone saxophonist Adam Schroeder (A Handful of Stars) with their quartets. Their unusual instruments occupy a rare place in jazz—the vibes being historically linked to such masters as Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and the still active Bobby Hutcherson; while the baritone sax was—until guys like Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams and Serge Chaloff became leaders—generally buried in the sax section. Blanton’s rich tone and intriguing compositions (all eight are his) reveal his grounding in bebop and straight-ahead jazz. His combo (bass and drums) also features Joel Frahm’s sax on six selections, most notably his tenor on the vibrant “Foreshadowing” and his soprano on the aptly titled “Hemming and Hawing.” Schroeder’s combo truly finds him with a “handful of stars” in that he’s got bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Like Mulligan (and Blanton, too), his is a piano-less quartet with fellow band mate guitarist Graham Dechter on board. Among the disc’s many highlights is the rousing version of “Just in Time” and the magnificent bari-bass duet on the Ellington classic “Just a Sittin’ and a Rockin’.” Tyler Blanton appears at Sacramento’s Red Lion Hotel, Sunday, Feb. 20, 5-8 p.m.