Baritone saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club got its start as the Boston-based CK5: two horns, guitar, bass and drums, so adding a trombone to the mix didn't seem like too much of a stretch considering Kohlhase's connection to the work of his former teacher, Roswell Rudd. But when a composer like Kohlhase (who also plays alto and tenor saxophones) adds a second drummer to the group, the possibilities for interplay increase exponentially. His arrangements favor dialogue over soloing, carving out duos from the whole (as well as trios and quartets) AACM-style when the full band isn't plowing ahead Mingus-style. The ten cuts on Adventures feature rollicking collective melodic statements, gunslinging showdowns and players leaving one conversation in order to enter another, as if a group of raconteurs and true wits had gathered around a table. This interaction generates a wild energy around this session as the mood shifts from track to track or within a track, the music constantly in flux. Adventures makes a bold statement, tempered with humor and a disregard for self-importance, that adds up to a gripping musical experience.
In 2009 there aren't too many jobs that can't be held down by a woman. One that comes to mind might be the baritone saxophone chair in the Mingus Big Band. But that's exactly where Lauren Sevian cut her teeth and earned the accolades that led to Blueprint, her debut recording on Greg Osby's label. Sevian's tone is full and authoritative on the big horn. Her straight-ahead compositions (ten originals; one co-written with guest altoist Mike DiRubbo) are rendered with graceful precision by her working quartet (particularly pianist George Colligan). Sevian's long, fluid lines run counter to most contemporary baritone styles, which tend to lean toward the avant-garde, supplementing and sometimes replacing lyricism with overblowing or other flashy effects. On Blueprint Sevian is no-nonsense and establishes herself as a fresh and important new voice on an underappreciated often intimidating instrument.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Jasper Jaguar; Deceptor; Kohlhase and Forever; Loquator & Taciturnator; The Alarm Clock is My Only Kryptonite; Stealing Beauty/Potuder Time; Thryllkyll on the Schyllkyll/Psychopath on the Cyclepath; Decide For yourself; Superhero Beatdown; Utensor; The Star of the Show.
Personnel: Charlie Kohlhase: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; Matt Langley: tenor and soprano saxophones; Jeff Galindo: trombone; Eric Hofbauer: guitar; Jef Charland: bass; Eric Hofbauer: guitar; Jef Charland: bass; Chris Punis: drums.
Tracks: Blueprint; Elusive Illusion; Not So Softly; One for C. Payne; Gesture of No Fear; True; For Mr. Stubb; Outline; Intrepid Traveler; The Free Effect.
Personnel: Lauren Sevian: baritone saxophone; George Colligan: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Johnathan Blake: drums; Mike DiRubbo: alto saxophone.