Jeff Coffin


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If you are searching for the next upcoming original saxophonist in modern jazz, Coffin may be your man. He plays alto and tenor in a manner very reminiscent of a young Sonny Rollins; savvy, brawny, unabashed, and fearless. Four of the nine cuts are with sax-bass-drums, again evoking favorable comparison to the legendary hard bop-edged Rollins-Wilbur Ware-Elvin Jones triad. Trumpeter Rod McGaha is on the other five, and he adds a lot -- his saucy Don Cherry-like smeared solos and pungent harmonic lines run in tandem with Coffin, making a formidable team and an arresting sound. The trio takes on some stiff challenges: a moderate New Orleans shuffle ("First Comes Last"), a fanfare intro to head noddin' bluesy swing to free boppin' title track, and a sweet and sour blues ("Espoo You"). The finale is a hymnal reverent "Prayer" with jingle bell threads woven throughout. But "Angle of Response" is a lengthy barnburner, a modal bassline in five and four beats alternately providing the foundation for Coffin to play alto and tenor simultaneously. The following piece, "Something Quick" (another workout at over ten minutes), has the band chewing up everything in its path, a tour de force hard bop epic. Seamless free sections are included here and there, and the ensemble, with bassist Chris Enghauser and drummer Tom Giampietro, keep the music percolating no matter the tempo. Coffin has a tiger by the tail on this extraordinary, highly recommended disc.

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