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Jerome Sabbagh featuring Jozef Dumoulin: Plugged In (2012)

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Jerome Sabbagh featuring Jozef Dumoulin: Plugged In Plugged In is an immensely appealing record and an artistic success. The source of that success is the revelatory combination of the highly individual—and at first blush, not necessarily compatible—sounds of saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh and keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin.

Sabbagh has had a string of critically-acclaimed albums, notably including North (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005) and Pogo (Sunnyside, 2007), both of which featured guitarist Ben Monder
Ben Monder
Ben Monder
b.1962
guitar
. On these and other records, Sabbagh comes across as a poster child for the enduring relevance and fresh possibilities of the straight-ahead, mainstream jazz approach (on the more recent I Will Follow You (Bee Jazz, 2010), with Monder and drummer Daniel Humair
Daniel Humair
Daniel Humair
b.1938
, Sabbagh ventures bravely into freer pastures, but nevertheless tends to play the straight man).

Sabbagh's tenor has a touch of Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
's sweetness and quite a bit of Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
1927 - 1991
sax, tenor
's forthright clarity. The most remarkable element of his playing on Plugged In is the shape of his phrases, the meticulous attention paid to rhythm, timing and space in his solos, as well as melody; in this regard, Sabbagh is a true heir to the bold post-bop architectural genius of Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
.

Pianist Dumoulin gets second billing, but his contribution to the record's success is every bit as important as Sabbagh's. Dumoulin's recent Rainbow Body (Bee Jazz, 2011) revealed an anarchic pianist, one who uses varying pitch and distortion the way an acoustic pianist would use dynamics to enliven a solo or add color to accompaniment. If anything, he sounds even more joyfully irreverent in the best of his solos on Plugged In ("Ur," "Jeli," "City Dawn"). Dumoulin's sound is worlds apart from Sabbagh's "Sonny at the Village Vanguard" vibe, but shares with the saxophonist a solid commitment to the collective enterprise.

The compositions are generally quite strong. They range from tender ballads ("Ronny") to blues ("Minor") to ersatz Latin jazz you might expect from Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
's Prime Time ("Jeli," "Kasbah"). The most affecting are generally penned by Sabbagh and have the earnest soulfulness of the best Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
Underground tracks.

Sabbagh and Dumoulin are ably backed by the electric bass and drums of Patrice Blanchard and Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston

drums
respectively. Royston's churning drum solo on "Ur"—a kind of Ur-rhythm, indeed—is only the most obvious of his excellent contributions.

This potentially ill-suited pairing has likely created one of 2012's finest and most eminently satisfying releases.


Track Listing: Drive; Special K; Aisha; Jeli; Ronny; Walk 6; Ur; Minor; Rider; Boulevard Carnot; City Dawn; Walk 3 bis; Kasbah; Slow Rock Ballad.

Personnel: Jerome Sabbagh: tenor saxophone; Jozef Dumoulin: keyboards; Patrice Blanchard: electric bass; Rudy Royston: drums.

Record Label: Bee Jazz


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