Multi-reed player Jason Rigby proves himself an edgy composer and bandleader with The Sage. Joined by kindred spirits including trumpeter Russ Johnson, Mike Holober (who plays Fender Rhodes exclusively on this session), veteran bassist Cameron Brown, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Rigby's compositions are a launching pad for intricate free jazz, though the themes themselves draw from many styles. "Magenta" begins simply enough, but it isn't long before it is transformed into a cauldron of burning improvisations by Johnson, the leader (one tenor sax), and Holober. Rigby shifts to flute for the lovely ballad "Shift of Color," while "Slip" has an ominous air. Since there are no liner notes, it isn't clear whether the musicians had much time to rehearse prior to the record date, though the passion in their interpretations of Rigby's works makes them seem like a working band, as there is nothing tentative about their playing.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden