Marty Ehrlich

The Welcome

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Marty Ehrlich would come to possess one of the larger sideman discographies of any musician associated with the avant-garde, but The Welcome was his first album as a leader and a very enjoyable one. Using only a trio (with the very fine rhythm team of Anthony Cox and Pheeroan AkLaff, much of the spotlight is on Ehrlich's own playing and he wields several of the multitude of reed instruments at his command. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he tends not to stress his outside credentials by over-blowing or shrieking but rather by his choice of notes and timbres, often maintaining a cool veneer over his idiosyncratic melodic phrasing. His tone on alto is a bit reminiscent of one of his teachers, Julius Hemphill (perhaps with a dash of Arthur Blythe), and his compositional style appears to owe something to Henry Threadgill's work with Air, but one can clearly hear Ehrlich carving his own distinct niche this first time out. Gently swinging and juicily off-kilter, The Welcome is a fine initial effort and pointed the way toward a rich spectrum of subsequent creations.

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