Roxy Coss: Roxy Coss (2011)
On her eponymously titled debut, Coss hits her stride from the first notes she sounds, with great bursts of air that follow the svelte trumpet of her compatriot, Kate Miller, on "Wandering One." As this aching melody unravels, so, too, does Coss' voice, with seemingly perfect pitch, when it comes to "singing" in hushed tones and burnished textures through an instrument that recalls the great moments of tenor saxophonists such as Ben Webster, Joe Henderson, and, sometimes, even Pharoah Sanders. Coss' voice is, of course, quite her own. She is expressive, has extraordinary intonation and modulation, and it appears that no parts of the tenor saxophone registers may escape her sense of adventure. Not enough praise can also be reserved for the manner in which she dances to the interior and exterior rhythms of her compositions.
Coss also has a great sense of balladry, her own "Lately" and "Enlightenment" absolutely magnificent examples. Her undulating, loping lines in slow tempo are as sensuous as any singing and dancing that has ever been expressively done on the tenor. And she never overstates her case, playing just as many solo bars as is appropriate to communicate deep feelings; always aided by contrapuntal lines, played by another musicianusually the equally burnished horn of Miller, pianist Justin Kauflineven, on occasion, guitarist Ryan Brennan.
It would be remiss not to mention the fluttering beauty of Coss' flute playing; her stellar turns on "A New Time" also indicate that she has a competent feel for Cuban son montuno. This is yet another surprise on the album, and is suggestive of how flexible and adventurous Coss is likely to be in the future. Coss' single song expressed on the soprano saxophone is also quite memorable, and she does not shy away from pushing the high pitches of that horn to their limits. With this album there is every indication that Roxy Coss' time has arrived.
Track Listing: Wandering One; Lately; A New Time; Enlightenment; The Slow Ascent; The Cherry On Top; I Think So; July.
Personnel: Roxy Coss: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Kate Miller: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ryan Brennan: guitar; Justin Kauflin: piano, Fender Rhodes; Kellen Harrison bass; Shawn Baltazor: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz