Saxophone Summit

Seraphic Light | Telarc
By JON GARELICK  |  May 27, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

Despite the name, this has never been a mere supergroup blowing session. A Coltrane tribute concert originally brought them together, with more shows and a debut album in 2004. Following the death last year of original member Michael Brecker, Ravi Coltrane has joined Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano on the front line. The result is both more focused and more diffuse. The last third of the album is given over to the more meditative and prayerful of late-period Coltrane: “Cosmos,” “Expression,” and the title track. But it’s the first half that suggests this band’s future. Here are intricate arrangements that allow each soloist to shine but are even more impressive for the overall ensemble weave. Ravi’s “Thirteenth Floor” tilts, sways, and bumps on contrasting meters in drums and bass, Lovano’s alto clarinet laying down a dark ostinato that eventually spins off into a web of flutes (C, wood, and Scottish) along with Ravi’s tenor. Randy Brecker’s “Message to Mike” drives a hard rhythm with a tart trumpet/sax fanfare that could come out of Wynton’s book. The organized free play among the horns throughout — and original pieces by bassist Cecil McBee, pianist Phil Markowitz, and drummer Bill Hart — show what’s been happening since Coltrane the Elder.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Cecil McBee,  More more >
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