Outside the Art Ensemble of Chicago and other multi-instrumentalists like Anthony Braxton, there aren't many players capable of displaying skills in as many different ways as Charles Austin. He's not only recorded in duo, small combos and large orchestras, but has played as many as six instruments on a date, and seldom fewer than three. These include such little-used items (for jazz) as English horn and oboe, plus the customary alto, soprano, tenor sax and flute arsenal. Austin's a good, sometimes fiery soloist, but not as diverse a composer or performer as a Henry Threadgill, Joseph Jarman or Roscoe Mitchell. Still, his albums are seldom conventional affairs, are aimed at fans with tastes beyond the mainstream.
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