Rob Reddy: Bechet: Our Contemporary

Glenn Astarita BY

Sign in to view read count
Rob Reddy: Bechet: Our Contemporary
Prominent New York City progressive saxophonist and composer, Rob Reddy contemporizes innovative soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet's artistic persona with his large ensemble, featuring several longtime associates, violinist Charles Burnham, bassist Dom Richards and drummer Pheeroan AkLaff. Reddy doesn't simply restate the past, but more importantly intertwines the trad jazz component with a scintillating and upbeat commingling of nouveau applications.

Bechet's wide vibrato technique, full-bodied and animated improvisational acumen extended conventional norms into the upper strata during his heyday mainly in the 1940s, despite numerous allusions to his obstinate personality. Yet Reddy whips a majestic, full throttle gala into variegated genres, including jazz rock, avant-garde expressionism and flavorful renditions of Bechet's comps, paired with his self-penned works amid a few sweet-tempered movements.

On the leader's bluesy "Erasing Statues, you can sense a hot and humid day along the Mississippi Delta, spawned by drawling horns and tender niceties. Moreover, the program contains ample doses of rough and tumble progressive jazz arrangements protracted by soaring choruses and sprightly free- jazz treks, occasionally dappled with Ornette Coleman-isms.

Reddy's horns charts interlink the old and the new whether it's trumpeter John Carlson's muted wah-wah notes locked in with marching band riffs or when he aligns with trombonist Curtis Fowlkes for several bars of slurring extended notes, bridged with modern jazz and rock stylizations. On Bechet's "Broken Windmill," the band seamlessly casts a trad jazz two-step with a festive dance motif embossed within twirling horns and Burnham's streaming staccato lines. Here, Aklaff sparks remembrances of early jazz drummers as he launches a lyrical solo while accenting the beat with a cowbell. Taken as a whole, Reddy's nods to Bechet are freshly reimagined and dexterously morphed into modern persuasions on a per-track basis.

Track Listing

Up-South; Petite Fleur; Erasing Statues; Song of the Medina; Yank; Chant in the Night; Speedy Joe; Broken Windmill.


Rob Reddy: soprano saxophone; John Carlson: trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Charles Burnham: violin; Marika Hughes: cello; Marvin Sewell: guitars; Dom Richards: double bass; Pheeroan AkLaff: drums; Lisa Parrott: baritone saxophone (6); Oscar Noriega: clarinet (8).

Album information

Title: Bechet: Our Contemporary | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Reddy Music

Post a comment about this album


View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

Shop Amazon


Stephan Crump
This Land
Theo Bleckmann & The Westerlies
Trust Me
Gerry Eastman Trio
Matthew Stevens
Borderlands Trio: Stephan Crump / Kris Davis /...
Kinds of Love
Renee Rosnes


Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective
The Garden
Rachel Eckroth
Time Frames
Michael Waldrop

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.