Janis Stephrans

Second Set

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Janis Steprans is a talented tenor saxophonist whose style is influenced by John Coltrane of the late '50s (and his Ballads album), along with, to a lesser extent, Wayne Shorter. He is heard on this CD performing a well-rounded program at a Montreal concert in 1995 with a swinging quartet comprised of pianist Geoff Lapp, bassist Daniel Lessard and drummer Andre White. Although Lapp has some good solos, the main focus is on Steprans who, on a rare instrumental version of Johnny Mandel's "Where Do You Start," gives the recent ballad a treatment reminiscent of Coltrane on "I Want to Talk About You," complete with closing cadenza. Other highlights include "Lester Left Town," "East of the Sun" and an outing on alto for "Second Set." Actually Janis Steprans proves to be a particularly skilled composer, for his four originals ("One and Three Plus Nine," "November," "Second Set" and "Lament") are all a bit memorable with catchy melodies and/or intriguing chord changes. All in all, this is an easily recommended disc of postbop jazz.

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