Album Review of
I'll Never Be the Same

Written by Joe Ross
April 2, 2021 - 6:11pm EDT
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Tenor saxophonist Jack Brandfield may only be in his twenties, but he plays like a seasoned veteran with years of experience. Originally from New York City, Brandfield studied jazz at Michigan State University. A scholarship recipient, he’s now pursuing a graduate degree at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Recorded in a trio with Randy Napoleon (guitar) and Rodney Whitaker (bass), Brandfield’s debut album presents swinging, straight-ahead jazz from the Great American Songbook.  Both Napoleon and Whitaker are on the faculty at MSU, and the album’s title track, “I’ll Never Be The Same,” speaks to their mentorship, insight and inspiration to the young up-and-coming musician. Brandfield’s repertoire is a collection of favorite music that has significantly influenced him. Becoming a leading interpreter of songs like “On A Slow Boat To China” and “Nobody Else But Me” is one of his lifetime goals, and he’s already well on the way to infusing these classics with his own signature sound and creative, interpretive twists. It’s a pleasant set, and selections like “Bossa Nova Ova,” “Wildwood” and “Lover Come Back To Me” are arranged with beauty and substance. Brandfield also recorded a couple duo tracks, “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” with Whitaker, and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with Napoleon. Brandfield is a solid melodist who makes the songs sparkle with clarity and sophistication. His breezy original piece, “Where Leaves Change” is sublime. Brandfield’s striking debut will certainly help him launch his career in music.   (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)