Friday, October 03, 2014

Jerome Sabbagh - The Turn (Sunnyside, 2014)

Jerome Sabbagh is a saxophonist and composer with a unique approach to jazz and music in general. His saxophone often has a light and mysterious tone to it, weaving through open spaces and defying expectations. Guitarist Ben Monder is a perfect foil for this type of music making, as he can go from a whisper to a scream and draw on a wide range of musical techniques to accompany the musicians or solo distinctively. Rounding out the band is Joe Martin on bass and Ted Poor on drums and they are fully integrated into the group's sound. The opening track "The Turn" has a deceptively quite and atmospheric beginning, lulling you into a sense of calm before the water heats up and begins to boil around Monder who emerges with a molten guitar solo that propels the music relentlessly forward. Poor is the main man on "Banshee" locking into a groove and swinging unrelentingly hard as the band takes the cue, and rolls through a rollicking section of full band improvisation and solo sections. "The Rodeo" has a lively and organic feel, with the band taking a spontaneous approach to music development, using the intricate strands of melody and it's lyricism to take advantage of the opportunities that bubble up during the course of the song. This band has been together for over ten years and the familiarity shows in the way they can work together and embrace the material at hand. The sound of the ensemble is very attractive in the way that adheres to the jazz tradition while carving out it's own modernist niche within it. The Turn -

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