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Stephane Spira - In Between (2014)
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Stephane Spira - In Between (2014)

28-06-2014, 04:05

Stephane Spira - In Between (2014)

Artist: Stephane Spira
Title Of Album: In Between
Year Of Release: 2014
Genre: Jazz
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 67:06 min
Total Size: 160 MB


1. Cosmaner
2. Dawn in Manhattan
3. Glenntleman
4. In Transit
5. Reflections in D
6. Flight
7. A Special Place
8. N.Y. Time
9. Samba Em Preludio
10. Classic
11. In Between
12. Grounds 4 Dismissal

Stéphane Spira - tenor & soprano saxes
Glenn Ferris - trombone
Steve Wood - bass
Johnathan Blake - drums

French-born, New York-based saxophonist Stephane Spira grew up with jazz the old-school way: in late night jams and cutting sessions. A protégé of longtime pianist for Chet Baker, Michel Graillier, Spira’s jazz career has taken him from 4 A.M. basement sessions in the underbelly of Paris, through acclaimed collaborations with trumpeter Stéphane Belmondo and pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, to the cutting edge of New York jazz. Spira’s fourth album as a bandleader, In Between, features more of the strikingly translucent and disarmingly catchy compositions that continue to characterize his work.

The performances here center around a tight harmonic interplay and lively, intuitive interaction between Spira and trombonist (and Steve Lacy collaborator) Glenn Ferris. It’s anchored and spiced by a similarly integral rhythm section, Steve Wood on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums. As usual, Spira matches a terse lyricism to a slightly smoky tone on tenor sax and a similarly thoughtful, Steve Lacy-inspired clarity on soprano, all the while engaging the rest of the band both rhythmically and melodically throughout a diverse mix of numbers that span the emotional spectrum.

In addition to nine originals, Spira radically reinvents Duke Ellington’s “Reflections in D” as a mystical tone poem before swinging it hard, and transforms the Baden Powell/Vincius de Moraes classic “Samba en Preludio” into a haunting dirge driven by Wood’s starkly funereal arco work. The album winds up on a cleverly humorous note with “Grounds 4 Dismissal”, Wood’s wry, historically allusive joust for bass and drums.

The album’s opening track,” Cosmaner”, wastes no time in setting the stage with a wickedly catchy shuffle theme that’s equal part Rio and New Orleans, with nifty handoffs from tenor to trombone and Wood’s bass filling in all the implied melody. Likewise, “Glenntleman” serves as a bright feature for Ferris’ bluesy soulfulness. “Dawn in Manhattan” gives the group a long launching pad to build from balmy ambiance to a slinky implied clave underpinning Spira’s warmly casual soprano and Ferris’ sly, low-down lines. In the same vein, Ferris channels Wycliffe Gordon in laid-back, drolly acerbic mode on the chromatically-fueled “In Transit”, divergent horn voicing’s coalescing to a lively conversation before Wood shifts from hypnotically circular riffage to resonant atmospherics.

Spira offers a nod to Coltrane on “Flight”, with its unexpected rhythmic shifts and purposeful tenor work over Blake’s flurrying, colorful volleys. The vivid ballad “A Special Place” has Ferris elegantly leading the band out of lushly misty Brazilian ambiance into a purist blues ballad. Blake again playing colorist with his misterioso brushwork, and Spira adding his signature spacious and judiciously considered phrasing.

“N.Y. Time”, a kinetic jazz waltz, has Spira leading an allusively moody modal groove, and Ferris adding an incisive solo before Blake takes it shuffling into the shadows. With its shifting counter rhythms and tight, horn harmonies, the album’s title track alludes to Monk without being derivative. The aptly titled “Classic” juxtaposes a bluesy Wood solo with a neat horn chart that diverges and then regroups, up to a triumphantly emphatic chorus: it’s “in the tradition” without being overly reverential, a quality that in many ways defines Spira’s work. ~ Jabari Kefele

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Ganzomaster   User offline   28 June 2014 04:47

Thanks from Mexico

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