Sean Sonderegger's Magically Inclined: Eat The Air

Glenn Astarita By

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Sean Sonderegger's Magically Inclined: Eat The Air
New York City-based saxophonist, composer Sean Sonderegger's Magically Inclined unit consists of artists he performed with for late composer, conductor Butch Morris' ensembles amid other regional jazz and improvisation units. Perhaps his involvement with Morris and studies with multi-reedman, composer Anthony Braxton among other notables, spawned the genesis for these rather complex works, often modeled with weaving and odd-metered unison phrasings. Moreover, Areni Agbabian harmonizes with the frontline during many choruses as an instrumental voice via these disparate motifs, riding above alterable cadences and loose, non-constricting improv segments.

Sonderegger is most certainly gushing with novel ideas and applications, but if you're looking for a potpourri of hummable melodies then you need to look elsewhere. He's a deep thinker and a laudable technician. On "Old Timers," Agbabian's choir-like vocals lead to a bridge section engineered with Greg Chudzik's chunky bass patterns and drummer Joe Hertenstein's punchy stick work, textured by the leader's breezy and carefree bass clarinet choruses and guitarist Harvey Valdes' brusque lines. Yet the ensemble will not settle into a docile musical climate as Sonderegger tosses in some angst for good measure.

Trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and others instill harmonious interludes in some spots but the majority of these rather cerebral works are contoured with geometric thematic constructions. However, the saxophonist generates some bravado with swirling notes on the Latin-tinged "The Ball," enamored by Valdes' interesting improvisational motifs, devised with closed- hand techniques, as the band chugs along with fervor. Other pieces contain additional intricacies; frothy grooves, resilient soloing activities and Agbabian's vocal treatments, yet the band closes out with a jovial, toe-tapping dub groove on "The Fifth." It's quite evident that Sonderegger possesses the wherewithal to go just about anywhere he pleases within a far-reaching progressive jazz radius.

Track Listing

Old Timers; A Visit; Eat The Air; The Ball; Crown; We’re Born; The Fifth.


Areni Agbabian; voice; Sean Sonderegger: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Harvey Valdes: guitar; Greg Chudzik: bass; Joe Hertenstein: drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Eat The Air | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Skirl Records

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