John Sandfort’s debut recording “Southbound” hits like a freight train at full steam. His bold, thick tenor saxophone sound assumes immediate control. The project is a balance of well-selected jazz standards and Sandfort’s fresh originals. The title “Southbound” fits the St. Louis native who now makes Atlanta, Georgia his home.
Sandfort’s musical development includes time in Chicago. The music of the “Windy City” natives Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin gave significant influence. Add the sounds of Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley, Sonny Stitt and Wardell Gray to arrive at Sandfort’s classic yet personal sound.
There is an obvious sense of musician enjoyment in this recording as the players interact and expand the musical ideas. “When I play, if I can impart some of the feeling I get when listening to a Gene Ammons recording, or a swinging Cannonball Adderly track, I will be a happy guy”, says Sandfort. Mission accomplished!
Wanting to showcase his love for straight-ahead jazz, Sandfort chose standards that provide plenty of room to breathe. ‘”When Lights Are Low” and “Yardbird Suite” are his personal favorites; “Alone Together’” is a 3/4 Traneish arrangement that moves to a vamp for soloing. “In the Wee Small Hours” is a song that he sang to get his children to sleep when they were younger. “Return of the Prodigal Son” is just fun, a great Harold Ousley (King Curtis) composition.
What about something new? Sandfort wanted to offer another side of his musical passion: composing. “Piedmont” is a composition loosely based on Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright With Me”, Sandfort wrote “Twins”, a happy, bop-ish tune, around the time he and his wife found out they were having twins. “Gene’s Thing” is a tribute to hero and musical influence Gene Ammons. The title track, “Southbound “, is Sandfort’s story of the journey to his new home, Atlanta, GA. “Hearing the guys bring my originals to life was a real pleasure for me” says Sandfort. We also included ‘CJ’ written by Michael T. Jones, a great friend, player and composer.”