Angelica Sanchez – Mirror Me (OmniTone, 2003)
Angelica Sanchez’s debut for OmniTone features her on piano, joined by her husband, Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tom Rainey. It’s an interesting disc which is both traditional and forward thinking at the same time. Malaby has a wonderfully dark, full-bodied tone unlike some of the other younger tenor players of the day who prefer a lighter, more fluid approach to their instrument.
The album begins with “Fresh Hell” which starts off with a piano and tenor duet gradually building to involve the whole band. There are a number of places on the disc where the band will break off into duos and trios to explore some of the nuances of the compositions. The title track “Mirror Me” is an example of this – it starts off with soft unaccompanied tenor saxophone, eventually joined by the leader on piano, playing a soft lullaby-like melody. Gradually the rest of the quartet comes in and the music builds in intensity.
Other standout track. include the ballad “Thorns” where Malaby plays with a deep almost Ben Webster like presence, and eventually lays out for soft piano solo backed by bass and drums. “Tragon” starts off with some skittering piano, backed with bass and drums and morphs into a full band collective improvisation.
This was a very interesting album. All of the musicians involved pay tribute to those who have influenced them in the best way possible – by taking original music in a new direction.
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