Monday, September 17, 2012

Saxes Are Wild - Bob Stewart

Jerry Bergonzi's quintessentially modern tenor sax style melds the linear, chromatic approach of such greats as Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter with the horizontal chordal techniques of John Coltrane. His manner of playing is utterly spontaneous and distinctive. With such contemporaries as Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman, Bergonzi has helped define the modern approach to his instrument. His quirky compositions always challenge the listener while keeping one foot within the bounds of tradition. His new quintet CD -- "Shifting Gears" -- features pianist Bruce Barth and trumpeter Phil Grenadier, and finds Bergonzi in fine form as a player and as a composer.

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin is a three-time Grammy winner, composer and active educator. Currently the reed man for the Dave Matthews Band, he's also known for his 14 years with the genre-defying Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. "Into the Air", on which Coffin reconvenes his one-of-a-kind band, the Mu'tet, reflects his experiences with the Flecktones and DMB while showing off his own unique sensibility. The Mu'tet takes its name from the word 'mutation,' clearly reflecting Coffin's idea that music must continue to change and mutate in order to grow. His compositions draw from the deep wells of African, New Orleans, funk, jazz, Gypsy, fusion and other styles.

Also this week, saxophonist Tia Fuller is joined by bassist John Patitucci, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and singer Dianne Reeves for her third release as a leader, "Angelic Warrior"; sax man Ralph Bowen convenes a quartet for his new disc, "Total Eclipse"; and pianist and Chicago native Max Marshall, who's performed with jazz luminaries like Terrell Stafford and Rufus Reid, reveals "Instant Comaraderie.

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