SaxEmble

Saxemble

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This very interesting release features a saxophone sextet (Frank Lowe on tenor, Michael Marcus doubling on manzello and bass sax, altoist Cassius Richmond, baritonist Alex Harding, Bobby LaVell on tenor, and most notably James Carter on alto, tenor and baritone) plus drummer Cindy Blackman; there is no need for piano, guitar or bass. The personnel changes on most selections, and the full group only appears on the last two songs, but all of the musicians have plenty of space in which to react to each other. The repertoire is quite inspired, mixing originals with "Hard Times" (made famous by David "Fathead" Newman in the late 1950s), Albert Ayler's "Ghosts," "Monk's Mood," and a medley of "Freedom Jazz Dance" and "Rhythm-A-Ning." The music could be called souful free jazz, for the musicians show plenty of emotion in their improvising (particularly the amazing Carter) yet are not shy of playing melodically when inspired. The use of baritone and bass sax makes the absence of a rhythm section (outside of Blackman's drums) barely noticeable. Well worth exploring and listening to several times.

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