Elias Haslanger

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Haslanger's debut CD proves conclusively that you don't need to be from New York City to play a mean saxophone. This set of standards Haslanger recorded in 1994 finds the young saxophonist in top form, blowing through classics such as "I'll Remember April," lyrical ballads like "When I Fall in Love," and blues tunes like Sonny Rollins' "Sonnymoon for Two" and Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time." On each, Haslanger's complete mastery of the jazz language gives him space to go beyond the simple recycled bop lines from which so many up and coming horn players refuse to deviate. At the same time, Haslanger is able to put his own spin on the pieces, adding new interpretations of both melody and chord changes to each song. Listen to Haslanger play the classic Rollins blues "Sonnymoon for Two": Whereas most horn players would try to build on the thundering interpretation Rollins gave it on his 1957 Blue Note album A Night at the Village Vanguard, Haslanger takes a wholly different approach -- after playing the melody in a crisp, swinging fashion, he solos in the style of an up-tempo swing, blowing through the blues changes with a smooth, even tone and rhythm-driven ideas. Nothing could be further from Rollins' version, and this is where Haslanger breaks new ground.

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