Monday, September 15, 2008

Adam Lane - Drunk Butterfly (Clean Feed, 2008)

This has been a very good year for saxophone trios, with fine records from Donny McCaslin, J.D. Allen and Steve Lehman. Add to that list a trio led by bassist and composer Adam Lane, joined here by Mark Whitcage on alto saxophone and clarinet and Lou Grassi on drums. This is a lean and strong trio that works well together, beginning with "The Last of the Beboppers" which is nice raw free-bop, featuring Whitcage's strong alto saxophone sounding good over swirling bass and drums. "Sanctum" has a mellow and vaguely Middle Eastern feel, very open sounding and mysterious as is "Like Nothing Else" which has a low and caustic bowed bass opening that evolves into an ominous, probing and swirling improvisation. "Chichi Rides the Tiger" is a strong performance with cool high sounding reed improvisation. Fast paced and interesting, this is one of the of the highlights of the disc. "Avanti Galoppi", "Marshall" and especially "Five O'Clock Follies" from the latter half of the disc are excellent as well, sounding akin to the tough, streamlined saxophone trios that Sonny Rollins led in the 1950's. This is interesting music that blurs the intersection between mainstream and avant-garde jazz in an intelligent and thoughtful fashion.

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