Large Music, Vol. 2

Paul Smoker

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Large Music, Vol. 2 Review

by Steve Loewy

This is the second recording from the same session that produced the very successful Large Music 1 (CIMP 219), and this one is just as compelling. Again, there are scintillating solos from each of the band members, with trumpeter Paul Smoker leading the way with his rubbery style, extended technique, and terrific fluency. He digs for earthworms on "Hold On, Hold On," exploring the netherworld, after which the trumpeter eventually comes up for air. The recording is again a collective effort, with every member holding his own. Lou Grassi once again shows why he is in such demand, offering invigorating support and power-charged solos. Bob Magnuson is one of the most underrated saxophonists in jazz, his sophisticated improvisations bordering on pure pleasure. Without a pianist, bassist Ken Filiano, who penned one of the tunes ("Tangram") and is featured on another (Smoker's "Arcing"), takes on added importance. All four members of the quartet are comfortable in a plethora of settings, a variety of which are found here, making this a fascinating listening. Although this music will be correctly characterized as "avant-garde," for lack of a better term, in fact it incorporates and absorbs decades of memories, with each of the players reaching way back and exploiting diverse traditions. Ultimately, this music is about joy -- the joy of improvisation, and the joy of new sounds. Enjoy!

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