Michael Zilber

Two Coasts

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As its title indicates, this is a CD that Michael Zilber recorded on two coasts. Part of it was recorded in April 1997 in New York, where the tenor and soprano saxophonist is joined by pianist Rachel Z., bassist James Genus, and drummer Rodney Holmes -- and part of it was recorded a month later in the San Francisco Bay Area with Jon Burr on piano, Peter Barshay on bass, and Steve Smith on drums. In both places, Zilber favors what is essentially straight-ahead acoustic post-bop, although the influence of fusion asserts itself on parts of the CD. This isn't surprising considering the strong fusion credentials that many of these players have -- Rachel had been with Steps Ahead, Genus had been with the Zawinul Syndicate, and Smith was known for leading the fusion band Vital Information. Zilber, meanwhile, is greatly influenced by Michael Brecker and Wayne Shorter, both of whom have made significant contributions to electric jazz. But however you categorize the music on this CD, the bottom line is that Zilber's solos are memorable and appealing on originals that range from the charming "My Son Shines" and the reflective "Renaissance Girl" to the impressionistic "Blackbirds." Not quite a gem but definitely pleasing, Two Coasts indicated that Zilber is someone the jazz world should continue to keep a close eye on.

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