Arthur Blythe

Exhale

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Arthur Blythe's alto saxophone was first heard in combination with Bob Stewart's tuba during the late '70s on Blythe's earliest albums Metamorphosis, The Grip, and Bush Baby. Exhale, which was released by Savant Records in 2003, was something like the 14th Blythe album to feature Stewart on the big horn. Stewart's pre-Blythe adventures included dates with Taj Mahal, the JCOA, Charles Mingus, Lester Bowie, Sam Rivers, and Gil Evans. His muscular bass clef virtuosity has always proven peculiarly well suited for interaction with Blythe's soulful soaring alto sax. The other half of the unit responsible for Exhale consisted of pianist John Hicks and drummer Cecil Brooks III. In addition to several tracks designated as movements of "Exhaust Suite" (with Hicks crossing over to Hammond organ), the group revisited a fine bouquet of standards by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Forrest, and Nat King Cole. This enjoyable album's playlist also includes a glowing interpretation of "Just Friends" and, best of all perhaps, a pair of extended outings on "All Blues" and "Equinox." As was the case with his 2001 Savant release Blythe Byte, the title track on Exhale is a miniature that takes less than one minute to experience.

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