Saxophonist/composer Dave Mullen offers a welcome dose of Solace to a world sorely in need of it on his invigorating new album. Far from the somber elegy, the title might imply, Mullen finds his comfort in the inspiring voices of some of jazz’s most iconic figures, and in the exhilarating musicianship of a group of his masterful peers: pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer E.J. Strickland and, in a pair of special guest appearances, trumpeter Jim Seeley. The album was also mixed by the Grammy-winning producer-engineer Jeff Jones, a regular collaborator with Jazz at Lincoln Center who has worked with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Dr. John.
The core quartet of brilliant musicians was specially convened for this date, though Mullen (Roy Ayers, Vic Juris) and Cowherd (Brian Blade, Cassandra Wilson) share a friendship dating back nearly 30 years. Another long-standing friendship with Glawischnig (Chick Corea, Ray Barretto) made him an obvious choice to hold down the bass chair. At the recommendation of Cowherd, Mullen then reached out to Strickland (Ravi Coltrane, Russell Malone), and the combination clicked. Seeley (Chico and Arturo O’Farrill), another old friend, was an integral addition to the album’s opening pair of tracks. “When we came together and played, it just felt like magic,” Mullen recalls.