Day & Taxi

About

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Recorded a few years after their debut, About features Day & Taxi in excellent shape. Saxophonist Christoph Gallio and drummer Dieter Ulrich are now joined by bassist Dominique Girod, replacing Lindsay L. Cooper. Gallio's compositions all rely on clever melodic lines, a certain understated mood that recalls Steve Lacy, and improvisations that, as free as they are, remain under control. A couple of tracks (like "Stars") seem of a more improvisational nature and introduce a welcome, well-calculated change. Gallio particularly excels on the soprano, his lines soaring high and beautifully. Ulrich measures his pace, playing only what's necessary to keep things into shape, never filling up the sonic space just for the sake of it. Girod has a round, fat sound that gives the session an anachronical but sweet '50s flavor. Highlights include the spirited "Madagaskar," the more ambitiously complex "Lindsay's New Tune," and the lightly playful "Fall in Ellipses." About is all about friendly playing and likeable jazz, the kind that greets you with a smile but doesn't compromise itself by addressing the lowest-common denominator. These tunes are intelligent and invite repeated listens, but at the same time they eschew any pretentiousness.

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