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Michael Attias: Credo

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Saxophonist Michael Attias has played a bunch of gigs as a sideman with some well known musicians over the years, but recently he has started to make releases as a leader. His singular effort Credo, recorded in 1999, is finally seeing the light of day.

The music has a joyous positive energy from the opening title track. The written material is intelligent and sophisticated without being bloated and pretentious. Mark Taylor (French horn) solos first and leads it back perfectly to more written material and a tempo change. Attias' solo on alto sax is burning from note one with Igal Foni (drums) and Chris Lightcap (bass) urging him on, leading into some skillful yet gutsy call and response writing. Reut Regev (trombone) also turns in a great solo. Yet another tempo and groove change leads into Sam Bardfeld's violin solo, which is good—perhaps riddled with a few too many "hot licks" (cliches), but still on the same page with the other soloists and the written material. The title track is concise, which adds to its overall power; how many people know how to balance writing and improvisation? Not many. Attias is one.

"Dream That Darn starts out like some twisted football fight song, then moves quickly to a slow, sultry swing—then double-time. Intelligent but not clever to the point of annoyance, the written material leads into another first-rate trombone solo by Regev and another wonderful solo by the leader, again on alto. On the short-ish "Labat," Attias switches from alto to baritone. It's a welcome change in orchestration and he certainly uses the full range of the instrument.

Though this is Attias' CD, the leader has the confidence to share the music's solo space. The total sound and collective focus are the greatest strengths of Credo, a strong, original release which goes to show you that it's not always the big names who make the best music.

Track Listing: Credo; I's; Orange; Dream That Darn; Hot Mountain Song; Mes Petites Amoureuses; Labat; Berechit.

Personnel: Michael Attias: alto & baritone saxophones; Reut Regev: trombone; Chris Lightcap: bass; Igal Foni: drums; Mark Taylor: French horn; Sam Bardfeld: violin.

Title: Credo | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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