Various Artists

Planet Sax

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Planet Sax from Music Mosaic gathers saxophonists from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia, and the U.S. playing varied versions of the instrument (tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino), and the result is a new age sonic funk festival of sorts, which isn't so much jazz as jazz blasted through a worldbeat prism, with various selections reflecting Far Eastern rhythms, New Orleans street music, Irish reels, African funk, and even grunge influences. Highlights include the Shapeshifters' funky, airy "Trance Organic," Yvon Mournier's spacy and kinetic "Elephant Dance," and Greg Ribot's "Sinuosa," which is probably the closest thing here to traditional jazz. It has been said that the saxophone is the instrument that comes nearest the timbre of the human singing voice, and if so, then Planet Sax is an approximation of the planet singing, but what it really sounds like is a particularly hip and funky swamp on a warm and humid night, with everything croaking and chirping, and the wind whooshing. Not bad, really, unless you prefer everything in neat little boxes.

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