Running Out of Time

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SavoirFaire might sound like the name of someone who specializes in dance music; it isn't hard to imagine a deep house, chillout, downtempo, or trance artist adopting the stage name SavoirFaire. But this SavoirFaire (whose real name is Samuel Williams) doesn't provide any of those things on Running Out of Time; he is a Chicago-based jazz violinist -- and when it comes to instrumental jazz, he is not easy to pigeonhole stylistically. Samuel "SavoirFaire" Williams (who wrote everything on this Bob Koester-produced CD) is quite capable of jumping from post-bop to fusion to avant-garde jazz; anyone who listens to the album in its entirety will get the impression that along the way, he has appreciated everyone from Regina Carter to Stuff Smith to Billy Bang to Jean-Luc Ponty. Parts of Running Out of Time find the Chicagoan getting into a '60s-minded post-bop groove; "Room for More" and the title track give listeners some idea what saxophonist Wayne Shorter or guitarist Grant Green might have sounded like on the electric violin when they were signed to Blue Note. But a more abstract and dissonant SavoirFaire emerges on the electric free jazz of "Surazal," which contains the disc's most outside playing. "Pendulum" moves into fusion territory, and the wistful ballad "Sommer's Ashes" has a '40s-like sense of romance; had SavoirFaire been around back then, the piece would have been appropriate for Lester Young, Stan Getz, or the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Much to SavoirFaire's credit, all this eclecticism doesn't sound forced or unnatural; he comes across as someone who genuinely appreciates a wide variety of jazz styles and has a need to express that appreciation on his violin. Running Out of Time demonstrates that SavoirFaire is well worth keeping an eye on.

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