Arthur Blythe

Night Song

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This is a particularly intriguing and enjoyable release. Arthur Blythe, who has always had a piercing, passionate, and fairly accessible sound on alto, is joined by Bob Stewart on tuba, Gust Tsilis (doubling on marimba and vibes), three hand drummers (Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Josh Jones, and David Frazier), and occasionally his producer, Chico Freeman, on bass clarinet and percussion. The instrumentation varies from cut to cut, with several duets (including one in which the bass clarinet and tuba blend perfectly together), opportunities for Blythe to play with just the percussionists, and rather unusual versions of Thelonious Monk's "We See" and Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count." Whether it be hints at New Orleans parade rhythms, Afro-Cuban jazz, older styles of jazz, or freer explorations, this is a fascinating set that is well worth several listens.

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