Live At The Deer Head Inn (Savant Records)

Jim Snidero

Released March 26, 2021

DownBeat Five-Star Review




As with many professions, it was a difficult thing to be a jazz musician during the pandemic year of 2020, but alto saxophonist Jim Snidero found himself in a unique situation: he was able to assemble a quartet for a feasible, safe, limited-audience gig at Pennsylvania’s famed Deer Head Inn. Snidero and his colleagues relished the chance to commune with listeners, and one another, on the bandstand again at long last. Live at the Deer Head Inn is the result, and as Snidero remarks in the liner notes, “It just felt like the perfect opportunity to cut through the fog of this damn pandemic and mark this moment in time.” The energy and excitement are palpable on this, as Snidero rallies his players and the audience in an exuberant set of what he calls “comfort music,” beginning with a trenchant take on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” (with Bird’s daughter, Kim Parker, in attendance to hear it). The depth of swing and interplay is evident in every measure, and Snidero’s sound and phrasing reveal a disposition of his own, guided by a unique melodic and harmonic concept — qualities that have earned him recognition in the Downbeat and JazzTimes Critics Polls.

Track Listing:

1. Band Intro by Denny Carrig 0:40

2. Now’s The Time 5:18

3. Autumn Leaves 6:52

4. Intro to “Ol’ Man River” 0:32

5. Ol’ Man River 6:57

6. Bye Bye Blackbird 7:02

7. Idle Moments 6:48

8. Who Can I Turn To 7:00

9. My Old Flame 8:11

10. Yesterdays 5:43


Jim Snidero: alto saxophone

Orrin Evans: piano

Peter Washington: bass

Joe Farnsworth: drums

Recording live October 31 & November 10, 2020, at the Deer Head Inn, Dalaware Water Gap, PA

Produced by Jim Snidero
Exective producer: Barney Fields
Recording engineer: Kent Heckman
Mixed & Mastered by Dave Darlington
Photography by John Herr
Outdoor photo by Marty Rojo
Dasign by וrem Ela Yıldızeli


For his first live album since 1989, Jim Snidero, a seasoned saxophonist with more than 20 records to his name, brings together the incomparable Orrin Evans on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums. On Live At The Deer Head Inn, the quartet’s sensitivity and sensibility transports; listeners may close their eyes and find themselves sitting rapt by the stage. Recorded at Pennsylvania’s famed Deer Head Inn on Halloween 2020 in front of a small, socially distanced audience, the recording’s immediacy is heightened by the quartet’s interactions with their rapt audience and the way they refer to time-honored standards to contextualize these difficult times. On “Idle Moments,” the quartet captures the ruminative mood of life in quarantine as Snidero boldly sculpts the well-loved melody. With a sweet, breathy tone and a light, skillful hand, he shapes the tune into a soundtrack for the times, while preserving and reframing the melancholy in Grant Green’s 1963 original. Likewise, “Ol’ Man River” was chosen by Snidero as a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement. As Snidero’s alto leads the quartet in a tender musical inquiry about racial unrest, the room quiets, the sorrow hits and the record reaches its emotional climax. Overall, the quartet’s simultaneous awareness of one another, the audience, the jazz tradition and the weight of the present era makes for a spellbinding live recording. Snidero and his band show incredible prowess and tender musicality throughout.

Alexa Peters (DownBeat)