Roy Nathanson

Fire at Keaton's Bar and Grill

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    7
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Alto/tenor saxophonist Roy Nathanson assembled an extensive guest list for Fire at Keaton's Bar and Grill, a sprawling concept album telling the story of a fictional nightclub that's destroyed in a fire and the ways its patrons are affected. Singers like Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Nancy King, and Richard Butler portray some of the characters, while Charles Earland occasionally sits in with the band, which is populated by several of Nathanson's fellow Jazz Passengers, among others. There's no small amount of fairly straightforward bop and soul-jazz to be found here along with Nathanson's usual eccentricities, but that helps evoke the fictional bar's smoky late-night atmosphere. There's a lot to take in here, but in the end, it's well worth it.

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