Until recently, tenor saxophonist Craig Handy was touring with jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater. “I really grew to love him,” Dee Dee says. “When I’d introduce him, I’d say, ‘This is my Handy-man. Anything I need, he can fix it!’ He was quite a lady’s man—quite a charmer. He was eye candy for women—big, strapping dude. So I had fun playing with him, playing into the fact that he was good-looking, hamming it up. And he really got in on the act.”
Now Handy has returned as a leader with a new album on OKeh Records (Sony) called Craig Handy and Second-Line Smith. Handy describes the project as “the Jimmy Smith Songbook re-imagined as a high-energy blend of a contemporary jazz quintet and second-line brass band. The sound is rooted in tradition and innovation.” It rocks. Loved writing this article, which was featured in the March 2014 edition of DownBeat.