Hailing from San Francisco Larry Tomko has found his paradise in Châteauroux, France. Now 68 years old he lives there with his wife Josiane. In the middle of a creative period, which led to numerous music albums, things developed in an unpredictable direction.

The Corona Pandemic has hit France severely. During the lockdown, many French people were locked up in their homes to counteract the rising infection rates. Larry decided to bring joy and good humor to his neighbors as confined as him.

Every day at 6 p.m. he performed a corona concert as it happened in many other cities. The neighbors  enjoyed the show by keeping a good distance from each other in front of his house. After a while the idea aroused to create new instrumental versions of his songs he usually sing. That way Larry created a whole album during the lockdown which lasted longer than expected, in particular 55 days.

The album is a balanced mixture of original compositions and covers. It starts with a rendition of the Joe Sample piece Put It Where You Want It. The reason why the smooth jazz genre loves this tune (Richard Smith, Scott Wilkie, Larry Carlton, Paul Brown) results from the gripping melody. Larry brings it all pure, fresh and delicious!   

Hwy 101 is Larry tribute to the Californian Highway 101 along the California Pacific coast with all its spectacular natural spectacles. I Was a Fool delivers some retro feeling with Vintage organ and a cool handling of the sax.

Make Me a Memory is a song by Grover Washington Jr. from his legendary GRAMMY awarded album Winelight (1980). Larry leaves the beautiful melody without major changes, because it is already a memorable cultural asset. Mr. Magic is the title song of the same named album by Grover, released in 1975. Larry takes a powerful approach to the song, which is good for his work.

Say Its True reveals the romantic side of two composers with a compelling love ballade. This tune was taken from the album Funk My Dog (2011), a collaboration between Larry Tomko and Peter Marsh. Like the free-floating glide of an eagle, this melody floats through space. Those who prefer the pure sound of a saxophone will find it at The Eagle.

The World Is a Ghetto was the fifth album of the group War, if one includes the albums with Eric Burdon. Obviously this album has influenced Larry like many others of his generation and so it is also part of his repertoire.

Winelight is the third song by Grover Washington chosen by Larry Tomko. Compared to the original Larry plays the theme more pronounced and a shade faster thus conveying a little more dynamics into the play. Up Till Now brings the album to an emotionally rich finale.

To describe Sax Only as Tomko's late work would be an impulsive prejudice. In this context we expect a lot more creative highlights in the future. Nevertheless, it certainly has the artistic maturity of such a one.







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Album Information

Title: Sax Only
Artist: Tomko
Year: 2020
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Independent

1) Put It Where You Want It (4:25)
2) Hwy 101 (5:14)
3) I Was a Fool (5:03)
4) Make Me a Memory (6:01)
5) Mr Magic (5:30)
6) Say Its True (4:45)
7) The Eagle (4:31)
8) The World Is a Ghetto (5:05)
9) Winelight (4:47)
10) Up Till Now (3:23)