James White

Sax Maniac

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For Sax Maniac, James White (aka James Chance) eschews the disco and funk sounds he used on his previous album, Off-White, and instead overlays his squealing, anarchic sax solos over spare, minimalist rhythms. Chance also dropped his longtime backing band, the Contortions, in favor of an array of top New York session pros, and though the backing band is mostly top-notch, the absence of the Contortions results in rather anonymous music. The songs can be occasionally compelling (especially "Money to Burn"), but, for the most part, they are fairly indistinguishable variations on the same themes and melodies. There's nothing here that will alienate die-hard fans, but Chance's music, always an acquired taste even at its most accessible, isn't really showcased to full advantage here. For a real worthy introduction to Chance's brand of anarchic jazz terrorism, Off-White or Buy the Contortions remains a far worthier choice.

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