Rob Brown – Crown Trunk Root Funk (AUM Fidelity, 2008)
Alto saxophonist Rob Brown has an appealing tart and citrus tone that works well on this hour long LP of freebop and abstract improvisations. The funk in the title is referenced by the strong communication and in the pocket sensitivity of the rhythm team of William Parker on bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums and Craig Taborn on piano and keyboards. The disc leads off with “Rocking Horse”, an up tempo song where strongly comped piano fuels an aggressive saxophone solo. “Clearly Speaking” has a well articulated saxophone solo over a pulsing tempo. “Sonic Ecosystem” slows the music down considerably for an abstract exploration of an open musical landscape. “Ghost Dog” moves at a medium tempo, carefully probing the melody, while “Exuberance” delves headlong into Ornette Coleman style wide open uptempo jazz. “Lifeboat” is a careful midtempo performance and the ending “Worlds Spinning” end the disc on a slower and steadier note. This is a solid disc of New York jazz, safely situated in the middle ground between the established mainstream jazz of uptown New York clubs like the Village Vanguard and the edgier performances spaces of downtown. This is a solid group that would be welcome on either side of town.
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