With this record, George Garzone again proves that he's a heavy hitter on par with big names of his generation like Joe Lovano and Michael Brecker. Because his longstanding trio the Fringe is based in Boston, the title The Fringe in New York might lead one to think this is a live record. But it's actually a studio effort produced by the wonderful vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, who appears as a special guest on all but two of the nine tracks. The Fringe's sturdy rhythm team is also present and accounted for: bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti.
Most of the record features Garzone's robust tenor work. But on the contrasting rubato themes "Anthony Goes to Mardi Gras" and "A Fox in the Woods," Garzone doubles the melodies on an overdubbed alto sax. He also plays soprano on "Between Two Cities" and Coltrane's "Central Park West," the two calmest tracks. On the other end of the spectrum, Mainieri lays out on the insanely fast "Ultra Tempo," which segues directly into the free piece "We Don't Know Why." Somewhere in the middle, swinging with a measured confidence, the group offers "Slip + Slide" and Mainieri's blues piece "Plus One."
Garzone leads off the album with "Tribute to Trane," which hearkens back to Coltrane's Crescent period. Coltrane tributes are no rarity in jazz, but few leap out of the speakers with such authority and purposefulness. Mainieri's vibes help to color the piece in unexpected ways. This particular tribute to Trane is also a tribute to the Fringe's cohesiveness and well-managed intensity.