Noah Preminger Group: Dry Bridge Road (2008)
This is the debut recording from a young and exciting saxophonist who, at the age of 22, seems calm, cool and collected. Noah Preminger heads a group that includes edgy, downtown Manhattan musicians Ben Monder (guitar), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ted Hebert (bass) and Russ Johnson (trumpet). Such a youthful tenor saxophonist might be expected to eagerly step into the world of free-bop, but instead Preminger demonstrates a good indicator of his style by taking his time to make things happen.
Preminger's opening originals, "Luke" and "A Dream," are thoughtful and concise, with melody and solo statements that are as smooth as ice swishing in cocktail glasses. His "Today Is Okay" picks up the pace, but this is merely an exercise in up-tempo bebop, his fleet lines intertwining with Johnson and showing that he can easily navigate such challenges.
For "Sax of a Kind," ironically composed by Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, Preminger demonstrates that he can easily slip into the dovetailed playing style of those two sax men from the 1950san exercise in cool, duet-type playing, again, in tandem with Johnson.
Preminger's "Was It A Rat I Saw?" finds the group taking the music outside, but really managing to stay just on the edge. Monder, who had been playing melodically previously, turns up the heat and, on the concluding "Rhythm for Robert," pushes the distort button, which serves to ratchet things up.
Dry Bridge Road is one impressive release, with a heretofore unknown musician making a strong entrance into the world of jazz tenor saxophonists.
Track Listing: Luke; A Dream; Today Is Okay; Blues For Steve Lacy; Sax Of A Kind; Where Seagulls Fly; Was It A Rat I Saw?; Real Nice; Rhythm for Robert.
Personnel: Noah Preminger: saxophone; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Frank Kimbrough: piano; John Hebert: bass; Ted Poor: drums.