Bryan Savage

Night Fire

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With only so many saxophone timbres to go around, many of the lesser known players searching for their own identity must keep the rest of their presentation unique while uncovering a sonic dynamic all their own. Case in point, Bryan Savage, who on first listen still brings Richard Elliot's rich, soulful tenor to mind. Savage is slowly improving the rest of his game, however, and Night Fire is by far the most satisfying of his three releases thus far. His horn is becoming more confident, but what makes him ready for the big leagues is his ability to both write and choose dead-on tunes which bounce all over stylistically but somehow weave a consistent thread between them. Like Nelson Rangell, Savage's other secret weapon is his flute prowess, and he infuses most of even the saxiest gems here with a wistful counterbalance that acts as either harmonic atmosphere or lead inspiration. Partial credit for the overall sheen here goes to producer Dik Darnell, whose stunning use of synth and live strings is only outshone by the tough solos he grabs from pianist Dave Hanson (especially on "Night Hawk City" and the bluesy title cut).

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