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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: It Takes All Kinds

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It Takes All Kinds is the third recorded collaboration between prolific tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon and a great drummer, Barry Altschul. The first, Irabagon's Foxy (Hot cup, 2010) featured double bassist Peter Brendler. The second, Altschul's The 3dom Factor (TUM, 2013) featured double bass player Joe Fonda. The most recent one features Altschul's longtime rhythm teammate, double bassist virtuoso Mark Helias. Irabagon, Altschul and Helias are each highly creative musicians with distinct, dominant voices nurtured by an extensive, diverse array of expressions. Irabagon divides his career between being a key player in ensembles like the quartet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon Trio: It Takes All Kinds

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This trio radiated Olympian style heroics akin to an endurance race on Foxy (Hot Cup, 2010). It was an arousing exercise in energy and power. And while drummer Barry Altschul, and bassist Mark Helias are time-honored jazz warriors-- respectively appearing on many landmark albums--saxophonist Jon Irabagon is now firmly seated with the upper-echelon of modern saxophone heroes. His star has definitely risen. A first-call session ace and stalwart member of the cutting-edge, nouveau jazz ensemble Mostly Other People Do The Killing, the artist is a force to be reckoned with. And perhaps no other album to date highlights his titanic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon/ Hernani Faustino/ Gabriel Ferrandini: Absolut Zero

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If you are as extraordinarily talented as saxophonist Jon Irabagon, probably best known from his tenure in the gloriously irreverent Mostly Other People Do The Killing, then you might occasionally need to set yourself challenges. He's done it before, on Foxy (Hot Cup, 2010), where he undertakes a relentless examination of a theme from every conceivable angle over 78 uninterrupted minutes. In this instance the gauntlet he has thrown down for himself seems to be to construct something meaningful via the medium of circular breathing and overblown histrionics. Few can have investigated the techniques with as much gusto.It's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Hertenstein - Achim Tang - Jon Irabagon: Future Drone

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Now residing in New York City, Germany-reared drummer Joe Hertenstein employs musicians from Europe or the US and to some extent, merges the avant-garde strata and stylistic tendencies into an opportunistic creative forum. This trio outing is a prime example. Featuring Viennese bassist Achim Tang and American tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon, the album pronounces a shrewd conglomeration of avant- garde minimalism, and excitable free-jazz with nervy sensibilities. Hertenstein is a master at complementing his band mates' gait via meticulously designed tom rolls and rendering crisp, understated jazz drumming amid vociferous free-bop cadences. “Seven for Nothing" is one of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Foxy

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In choosing to craft his tribute to the idiom and energy of hard bop around one of Sonny Rollins' classic compositions, “Doxy," but to use the surreal, carnival atmosphere of Rollins' 1957 cover art for Way Out West (Contemporary), young tenor saxophonist, Jon Irabagon has made one of the more memorable tenor saxophone trio records, Foxy, with the mighty Barry Altschul on drums and breathtaking bassist, Peter Brendler. In doing so, Irabagon has broken the barrier of the classic sixteen-bar song by improvising almost interminably for almost eighty minutes on an original theme--something Rollins did famously in the structure-defying Way ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Foxy

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Saxophonist Jon Irabagon is a promising talent who has garnered notoriety via his work with the clever and explosive quintet, Mostly Other People Do the Killing. On Foxy, legendary drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Peter Brendler provide sturdy support throughout the 78-minute sax solo extravaganza. On the opening title track, Irabagon launches an interconnecting sequence of cuts. With a take-no-prisoners approach, the saxophonist meshes free-bop, free-jazz and swing, his spirited line of attack underscored by thick and fluid lines. Irabagon rockets into the cosmos, as Altschul lashes out with booming cadences amid the largely mid-tempo grooves. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon Trio featuring Barry Altschul: Foxy

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Foxy is tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon's fourth album as leader: a 78-minute, uninterrupted trio performance, exploring the possibilities of the 16-bar form through extended improvisation. Put another way, Foxy is a great big belly-laugh of an album; a stunning physical feat; a constantly shifting musical achievement; an adventure; and a raw and visceral performance. And it's got great cover art--a take on Sonny Rollins' Way Out West (Contemporary, 1957), featuring a louche Irabagon and a succession of undignified additions to the steer skull. Foxy is divided into 12 tracks--perhaps, as the rather optimistically-titled “Foxy (Radio Edit)" suggests, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Foxy

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Fashioned as a late night session, the continuous 78 minutes of saxophonist Jon Irabagon's Foxy is an unrelenting sixteen-bar jam that feels as if the infamous Dean Benedetti had recorded the get-together and now, some nine months (not years) later, it is being released. Irabagon, the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, has never rested on the laurels of that distinguished title. He has divided his time between more traditional jazz, recording The Observer (Concord, 2009) with Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid, and Victor Lewis, while maintaining his outlaw status in Mostly Other People Do The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Foxy

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The classic late 1950s trio recordings of Sonny Rollins are widely revered by up and coming saxophonists as a benchmark against which to prove themselves. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and a celebrated member of the infamous quintet Mostly Other People Do the Killing, wryly acknowledges this fact on his first trio record, Foxy, which takes a cue (visually and conceptually) from Rollins' seminal 1957 masterpiece, Way Out West (Contemporary).Though boasting one of the most humorous album cover parodies of recent times, Foxy contains some deadly serious music. Joined by legendary ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon with Mike Pride: I Don't Hear Nothin' But the Blues

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Sometimes you don't need more than a sax and a drum set. Tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon--winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition and a potent and articulate front man of the post-modern be-bop quartet Mostly Others Do The Killing--and versatile drummer Mike Pride--a collaborator of Anthony Braxton and punk outfits such as Millions of Dead Cops--prove this point on their first recorded duet. It is a powerful and dynamic exhibition of flowing improvisation that does not bind itself to a specific style or genre.

The title of this about 47-minute improvisation, and the iconic train painting on the cover, ...

DISTRICT JAZZ

Jon Irabagon Plays KC Jazz Club

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Jon IrabagonKennedy CenterWashington D.C.October 30, 2009 Simple without being simplistic; straightforward without being strictly straight-ahead; unpretentious, yet artistically thoughtful; humble, yet full of youthful confidence, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Competition, showcased a compelling mix of humor, technique, and engaging music during his October 30 concert at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club. A native of Illinois, Irabagon picked up the saxophone as a youngster. Describing this occasion in his usual modest manner he explains, “I started to play in the 4th grade. You ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: The Observer

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Back in the day this might have been seen as an “In the tradition" statement for someone like saxophonist Jon Irabagon--last heard in freely improvised settings on I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues {Loyal, 2009), with drummer Mike Pride, and the RIDD Quartet's Fiction Avalanche (Clean Feed, 2008), or artful deconstructions of the Blue Note oeuvre with Mostly Other People Do The Killing. But such terms seem outmoded for young genre-busting musicians like Irabagon. With the 2008 Thelonious Monk Institute prize under his belt there can be no doubting the saxophonist's chops in a straight-ahead setting and this delightful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: The Observer

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Best known as the volatile saxophonist in bassist Moppa Elliott's self proclaimed terrorist be-bop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Jon Irabagon has only just begun his career as a solo artist. His bristling duet with drummer Mike Pride, I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues (Loyal Label, 2009) was preceded by Outright! (Innova, 2008), the self-titled debut of his own vivaciously eclectic quartet.

The Observer is Irabagon's first release for Concord Records, which awarded him a recording contract after he won last year's Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. On this surprisingly straight-ahead session (expertly recorded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon and Mike Pride: I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues

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I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues is a hilariously apt title for the new CD by saxophonist Jon Irabagon and drummer Mike Pride. The phrase--and the cover art, featuring both as well-dressed train-hoppers--would suggest a certain something to most listeners, maybe a tribute to Louisiana Red or Memphis Slim or Mississippi John Hurt. And while the one long, extended jam that makes up the disc is not quite any such thing, it still stands as an appropriate answer for some unasked question: “What kind of music is this supposed to be?" “I don't know, man. I don't hear nothin' ...



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