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Our loss is Europe's gainan old story in jazz. But sometimes we get lucky, and they come back home and give us some music.
Pianist Bobby Few has made Paris his home for thirty years, though he has been heard over here on Steve Lacy Sextet recordings. Now Boxholder Recordswho have, over the past couple of yers put out a string of very high quality live CDs, is offering up Few in a live trio setting, with saxophonist Avram Fefer and bassist Wilbur Morris on Few and Far Between: Live at Tonic 6/4/00 The set features four extended numbers, three originalsone each from each of the band, and one classic, Mingus's "Nostagia in Times Square".
Bobby Few's hard-driving "Continental Express" opens the seta runaway train, downbound (Fefer's apparent goal) or ascending the scales to the clouds(Bobby Few); or anchored on solid ground (Wilber Morris' muscular, throbbing bass lines)is up for debate.
The pace slows with Morris's "Chazz", a wee hours, smoky room blues, with a continual balancing act between Few's lush, intricate lines and Fefer's edgy, rough-hewn attack.
Leader Fefer's "Loss" is perhaps the disc's highlight. A slow-builder, like "Chazz", with Few setting the sad atmosphere. Fefer's blowing starts out wearily melancholic, gentle and sad, and lets the grief build to the wailing and teeth-gnashing end of the spectruma tenor band saw chewing through the dark hard wood of a stained oak coffin lid, screaming into dense swirls of grain around hard knots.
The nineteen minute closer, Mingus's "Nostalgia in Times Square" ends things on an up note. A driver, it acts as a perfect bookend to Few's opener, with Fefer's sounding resonant and relatively conventional, with a brassy, hollow tone to his horn; tight rhythm abound, and room for some inventive soloing.
Another live gem from Boxholder.
Track Listing: Continental Jazz Express, Chazz, Loss, Nostalgia in Times Square
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.