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Album Review

Chase Baird: A Life Between


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Chase Baird: A Life Between
Chase Baird is a New York-based saxophonist who combines jazz with other musical genres. His work on this CD can sport, at various times, the melodicism of classical music, the sharp angles of progressive rock or the blunt thrust of funk. A very talented group of musicians helps him fulfill his vision here, including Brad Mehldau on piano and Antonio Sanchez on drums.

On several tracks Baird's broad tenor gets to soar over bumpy rhythmic terrain such as Mehldau's surging romantic piano on "Dream Knows No End" and the brutal hard rock stomp of "Ripcord." "Wait And See" starts out as a frantic duel between Baird and Sanchez. Then, as the rest of the band joins in, the music expands into a slippery jazz fusion groove featuring Nir Felder getting frisky on guitar. "Reactor" sounds like something out of Donny McCaslin's current playbook, with Baird alternating wriggling riffs, swaying ballad lines and hard funk honks over sludgy electronic funk beats. On the epic-length "In The Wake," Sanchez and bassist Dan Chmielinski establish a lush rhythmic pulse while guitar and piano build a seductively hip atmosphere which Baird burrows through soulfully. Mehldau's insinuating bounce and Felder's nimble-fingered soloing are also highlights of this piece.

In addition to its soulful and hard edges, there's also a more solemn side to Baird's music. That is heard in the dignified sax-and-guitar melody of the ballad "A Life Between," the dreamy, slow-motion yearning of "As You Are" and the luminous rendition of Robert Schumann's "Im Wunderschoen Monat Mai" which spotlights Mehldau's delicate touch and Baird's formal precision.

Chase Baird here produces a set of music which is diverse but is held together by his clear and careful saxophone sound. The music covers a wide stretch of territory but it all feels related in this strong effort.

Track Listing

Ripcord; As You Are; Reactor; Dream Knows No End; Wait And See; A Life Between; In The Wake (of urban overdrive); Im Wunderschonen Monat Mai.


Chase Baird: saxophone; Brad Mehldau: piano; Antonio Sanchez: drums; Nir Felder: guitar; Dan Chmielinski: bass.

Album information

Title: A Life Between | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Soundsabound

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