Walter Chancellor, Jr. blows Hott and cool


Minnesota Hott Radio’s program Smooth & Jazzy returns, after a few weeks’ hiatus, bringing back with it, the mellifluous magic of sax ace Walter Chancellor, Jr. Between the Internet station’s regular rotation and listeners requesting his tracks at the show’s chat room, he is a presence of consequence.

Chancellor, premier purveyor of cool, will treat a November 24 audience at hot Twin Cities night spot, Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, to what his attraction is about. It’d be reasonable to expect a set list including selections from his newest, Hydroponic Jazz (Earfone Records), which, in fact, he celebrated as a featured artist at Dakota’s be-there-or-miss-out block party this August immediately after Hydroponic Jazz‘s release event at Southern Theatre. Better get to the club on time or risk getting shut out and find yourself standing on the sidewalk listening through speakers to hot music in the cold.

Hydroponic Jazz, as the expression has it, ain’t nothin’ nice. For one, bad as Chancellor is on sax — subtle as a snake — he doesn’t stop there. He does all the composing, the arranging and produces. In and of itself, that says not a great deal. Anyone can go into the studio and with sidemen who know what they’re doing and a reliable engineer on the board, claim the same credits. There’s, off the top, strong material, yes. Also, however, intricate interplay between instruments has to be attributed the arrangements. Lush, layered textures, too. It takes an uncanny ear to pull that off. This distinctly, anyway.

His producing acumen lands in the region between Quincy Jones and Barry White. Not that Walter Chancellor, Jr. stands shoulder to shoulder with either. He does, nonetheless, draw on such influence with a sure hand and unerring ear. “Botanical Jazz Garden” is an aural beauty on which, ironically enough, the artist takes a back seat for a tapestry of sheer sensuality. As he does on “Hot Supe,” laid back sophistication set to a funky back beat with Chancellor taking off on a brief, brilliantly tantalizing solo. Nobody will ever accuse him of overblowing. Nor will anyone say that he skimped on his artistry. All said, he brings it.

He’ll be there November 24th at the Dakota jazz club and restaurant, featuring Zydeco vocalist and accordionist CJ Chenier, at a pricey to-do for a worthy cause. The gala, $150 a seat and up, is in support of the Under the Radar Foundation. Their mission is to bring to light issues that, generally speaking, escape the mainstream media .

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.