Jeff Lederer: Sunwatcher (2011)
Sunwatchers is a most auspicious debut by saxophonist Jeff Lederer. The reed man chose to reanimate the spirit of Albert Ayler for this session, and along with Ayler's ghost came that of late-John Coltrane spirituality and experimentation.
Lederer can been heard as the saxophone behind the creative bands of Ted Kooshian's cartoon and TV show music and drummer Matt Wilson's newest quartet. Playing on Wilson's That's Gonna Leave A Mark (Palmetto, 2009), he is the yang to saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo's, well, yang.
Here, he returns the favor, employing Wilson at the drums, plus Jamie Saft at the keyboard and Buster Williams on bass. Opening with his personal tribute to Ayler, "Albert's Sun," his tenor hails Ayler's sound with a fierce love cry. Playing with some jaw-dropping extended technique, he soars from deep tenor to whistling high notes before Saft follows, dancing along the new thing's edge of fidgety notes.
What flows from the opener is Ayler's immediate family, as Lederer summons his best Pharoah Sanders for his "Turiyasangitananda," a devotional piece that's a tribute to Alice Coltrane, and the sanctified sound of gospel heard on Duke Pearson's bluesy "Cristo Redentor" and "Snake In The Blackberry Patch," where Lederer massages his soprano into a dervish bliss. Paul Bley's mini-ballad, "Albert's Love Theme," shifts into a bit of introspection, as Saft guides the saxophonist's inward prayer into the atmosphere.
This disc comes full circle, tying Alyer's prophecy with the African-American church on the traditional "Break Bread Together," grabbing equal parts jazz and blues with this old-timey revival.
Track Listing: Albert's Sun; Cristo Redentor; Arnold Schoenberg's Son; Snake In The Blackberry Patch; Albert's Love Theme; Arshawsky; Break Bread Together; Turiyasangitananda.
Personnel: Jeff Lederer: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Jamie Saft: piano, organ; Buster Williams: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.
Record Label: Jazzheads