Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Julius Hemphill Sextet - Fat Man and the Hard Blues (Black Saint,1991)

Saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill recorded in a number of different configurations both as a leader and a collaborator. He was one of the founding members of the pioneering World Saxophone Quartet, and after he left the group, he put together a saxophone sextet for this album that included the likes of Marty Ehrlich and James Carter. What is so impressive about the music is the really tight ensemble playing, whether riffing on an uptempo performance like the opening "Otis' Groove" or gleaning the texture and nuance out of a slower one in "Opening." A majestic and near Ellingtonian sweep of musical color anchored by deep and gutsy tenor saxophone on "Four Saints" makes for a very powerful performance. Horns playing off one another on "Glide" build tension and excitement, while pale flute is juxtaposed against saxes on the swirling "Tendrils." Big blasting riffs end "the Hard Blues" on a thrilling note, ending a very exciting and diverse recording. The Complete Remastered Recordings - amazon.com

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