Press for If Only You Knew (2010)

Were we to consider If You Only Knew academically, it would be a master class on composition, interpretation, performance, practice and repertoire selection . . .brevity, professionalism, structural musical competency, simplicity, humility and grace . . .The title piece is a ballad of careful beauty that comes to a simmer and beyond . . .

— All About Jazz (March, 2011)

. . . Wilensky’s individuality can be heard with his first notes. His sound is bright, crisp, and completely relaxed in all registers. His lines are direct, to the point, and completely his own; he just does not sound like anyone else.

— Saxophone Journal (March, 2011)

This straight-ahead recording has the charm of four friends getting together in the afternoon, on a day off, to play some music that challenges the mind yet focuses on feel, whether the style is ballads, up-tempo numbers or mid-tempo charmers. Together, they create a recording that delights and impresses, but not by shoving their abilities down your throat. Instead, they take their time to lay out lines with thought and care . . . There is an easy rapport between these musicians best demonstrated in a wonderfully shifting and lilting of backbeat heavy accents on the title piece. Slowing building the tune’s intensity, Neumann is incredibly tasteful and insistently prodding at the same time as he pushes the tune to a great climatic height. Wilensky’s ending solo is full of the fire you can see made him so admired and sought after as a rock musician . . . If you enjoy thoughtful, at times introspective playing by those who have already earned their stripes and have no need to show off, then you’ll be totally captivated by this recording.

— (January, 2011)

Tenor saxophonist Dan Wilensky has put together a nice collection of original tunes on If You Only Knew. Joined by Bob Himmelberger on piano, Dean Johnson on bass and Scott Neumann on drums, Wilensky shows a flair for melodic songwriting and a robust tenor sax sound. To open the disc, he opted to use one of the two non-original selections on the album, “Tea for Two,” taken at a leisurely pace that increases in intensity, and features a nice solo from Johnson. Among his other tunes, the funky “Saxafras” and the hard boppish “Lucky 13” particularly caught my ear. Special mention should be made of Himmelberger’s lovely piano work on Wilensky’s contemplative reading of Horace Silver’s “Peace.” To quote the title of the closing track, “All in All” this is an album that kept me engaged from start to finish.

— Jersey Jazz (November, 2010)

For me, a sax player has to have a singing tone and Dan’s sound is beautiful on these tracks. This is not about how many notes can he can play in a second, it’s about a mature musician telling his story. And it’s a story that has variety, complexity, fun, funk, blues and more . . .

— CDBaby (December, 2010)