Paul Flaherty

The Hated Music

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Simply put, this is one great session of fire music. Byron Coley's liner notes prepare listeners: In New England, anything left of center was and still is seen as the work of the devil, says he, attaching a music anecdote to each track title. Therefore, listeners know this sax/drums twosome will put all the energy possible into this music in order to avenge their honor (i.e., live up to their neighbors' "expectations"). Chris Corsano does a good -- no, a great job, walloping in and out of time, pushing the saxophonist forward, giving him soloing room. But no matter how hard you try to concentrate on his playing, you eventually phase him out and there's nothing he can do about it. Why? Because Paul Flaherty is on fire. He plays with the lungs of a 25-year old, the impetuousness of a teen, and the lyricism of a mature man. He blows, grunts, screams, and then hangs on to a long note he develops into one of those instant melodies that change water into wine for a brief moment. Whether on his raspy tenor or his piercing alto, he delivers one of his best performances -- maybe not his most inventive, but the heartfelt dimension and sheer power are enough to shut out any "it's been done before" remarks. The Hated Music is a very satisfactory album, highly recommended to fire music fans.

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