Jeff Marx: Treading Air, Breathing Fire (2004)
The Chicago based saxophonist influences show hints of greats John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. His voice is throaty with rapid bursts of notes and highly developed control. The eight selections are "straight-ahead modern post bop" if you’re into labels, but the main consideration is the extremely tight performance of Jeff Marx’s band. The group performs with a looseness that allows the music to be spontaneous and free in a variety of modes.
Two of the more notable names on the ticket are pianist John Esposito, who has worked with Pharaoh Sanders and Dave Douglas; and bassist Ira Coleman, who has performed with Herbie Hancock and the Tony Williams Quintet. Their performances, along with Marx and drummer Peter O’Brien's, are simply inspired. Esposito’s talent pours out freely in the blissful “Treading Air” and the stirring “Song of The Trees” with elaborate and artistic solos. Ira Coleman is simply “the man” and delivers terrific bass lines that swell, dance, and ignite each piece. His solo on the odd metered “Forsaken” is a thing of beauty. All of this is kept in check by the sharp drumming of O’Brien.
Marx starts and finishes with the same vivid tenor sound that is not just about high style but more of feeling and earnest playing. With inflections, guttural tones, spiraling notes, and just simply playing his horn off, he’s created quite a memorable recording. Highly recommended.
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Track Listing: 1. Times Change 2.Through a Glass Lightly 3. Treading Air 4. Scare 'Em Stupid (Live) 5. Song of the Trees 6. Desparate Measures 7. Forsaken 8. Zenobia
Personnel: Jeff Marx - Tenor Saxophone; John Esposito - piano; Ira Coleman - bass; Peter O'Brien - drums