(2009-Brick’s Picks, lA Weekly)
And we’ve been digging pianist Theo Saunders for quite a while, too. He’s got big influences—McCoy Tyner and Monk among them—but that’s all they are, influences…the art you hear and watch when you sit stage side is his pure Theo, fingers skittering through solos, that Basie-like thread of single notes, that space that’ll go on for seconds, just nothing at all, him sitting there, looking for just the right place between bass line and drum beat ….then pouncing suddenly, Monkishly driving bug chunks of harmony by chordal fistfuls into the rhythm, just perfectly placed pieces of melody. You catch a glimmer of the melody and he’s gone again, in some entirely new direction. There’s so much to discover in a melody. He’s got tenor Chuck Manning this time, at Charlie O’s on Sunday.