Patrick Brennan

Which Way What

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Brennan's a talented alto saxophonist, indebted stylistically to Ornette Coleman, especially in terms of tone and phrasing. His improvised lines, however, are his own, as are his knotty and labyrinthine compositions. Rapid, asymmetrical melodies and quick changes of meter and tempo characterize his tunes, which serve as interesting jumping-off points for improvisation. The band plays well together; it's impossible to tell just how regular an assemblage they were at the time of this recording, but there's good chemistry among them. As evidence that many good players labor in relative obscurity, the drummer Acacio "Salero" Cardoso and bassist Rashiim Asar Sa Hu provide world-class support, laying down powerful grooves, navigating Brennan's sophisticated tunes, and improvising with clarity and passion. The sax/bass/drums configuration is old hat; it needs a fertile imagination to breathe life into it. Brennan, Cardoso, and Asar Sa Hu have done a good job here avoiding cliché and investing the format with a fresh perspective.

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