After 15 years of playing together, Russ Strathdee and Mark Rutherford embarked on the "Steppin' Back" project to record some standard tunes that would be recognized by nearly everyone.
Russ's sax playing is deeply rooted in jazz, blues, and rock. He cultivated his warm but edgy tone in the Toronto scene of the 60's as an active player in the R&B circuit.
Mark's keyboard style has been influenced by many musical experiences. In his formative years in Winnipeg, he played next to some very big and distinctive sounds (like "The Guess Who"). Cultivating an interest in jazz and fusion of the 70's, he relocated to Toronto and gathered a sizable list of professional credits.
For this CD Russ stamps his signature on a bluesy treatment of "Georgia", stays true to roots in "Since I Fell For You", and his baritone treatment of "Slow Boat To China" transports the listener.
Mark provides some very unique arrangements of classics like Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady". His latin rhythm feel in the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" and the soft but funky sounds of a real 70s-era Fender Rhodes take this work well beyond the realm of just another recording of jazz standards.
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