Ari Ambrose

Talk of the Town

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Saxophonists have long enjoyed the challenge of working alone with a piano-less rhythm section, as it gives them additional room to improvise. Tenor saxophonist Ari Ambrose has regularly recorded in a trio setting with just bass and drums, on this occasion with Ugonna Okegwo and Mark Ferber, two regular collaborators. He alternates between originals and standards, kicking off with his percolating, midtempo boppish blues "I Don't Recall," which features all three musicians in a good light. "Goodbye" is not the famous theme song played by Benny Goodman but a stunning, gut-wrenching original ballad that suggests a sad parting with a lover. His breezy "Ditmas Avenue" crackles with the energy of a busy urban thoroughfare in the midst of the day. In spite of its age,"Pennies from Heaven" remains one a favorite of modern jazz musicians; Ambrose's staccato phrasing keeps it fresh. His sassy take of Thelonious Monk's "Let's Call This" revives a piece that is generally overlooked in the late pianist's canon, playing it with a looseness that its composer would have likely enjoyed. This is another fine session by the rising young saxophonist.

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