All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

184

Jon Irabagon: Foxy

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
The classic late 1950s trio recordings of Sonny Rollins are widely revered by up and coming saxophonists as a benchmark against which to prove themselves. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and a celebrated member of the infamous quintet Mostly Other People Do the Killing, wryly acknowledges this fact on his first trio record, Foxy, which takes a cue (visually and conceptually) from Rollins' seminal 1957 masterpiece, Way Out West (Contemporary).

Though boasting one of the most humorous album cover parodies of recent times, Foxy contains some deadly serious music. Joined by legendary drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Peter Brendler, Irabagon and company embark on a single extended improvisation based on a standard sixteen bar form, expanding and extrapolating the tradition with a vivacious combination of irreverence and respect. Similar to Irabagon's duo record with drummer Mike Pride, I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues (Loyal Label, 2009), this relentless studio session exudes the same unflagging kinetic intensity, while spotlighting the saxophonist's extroverted side—an aspect largely missing from his classy major label debut, The Observer (Concord, 2009).

A virtuosic stylist not beholden to the tradition's more conservative attitudes, Irabagon's mercurial tenor flights brim with spry invention throughout the set's uninterrupted 78 minute duration, from the fade-in intro to the shockingly abrupt ending. With inexhaustible stamina and unbridled enthusiasm, he unleashes a bellowing stream of lyrical cadences in vacillating time signatures that alternate with asymmetrical refrains, altissimo accents and multiphonic blasts. His technical prowess and singular creativity facilitates the incorporation of divergent approaches into naturalistic extrapolations, seamlessly uniting formalism with abstraction.

Providing historical precedent for his epic excursions, Irabagon regularly interweaves witty references from old chestnuts into his tortuous screeds. Recalling the bop-era's penchant for quotation, snippets from Great American Songbook standards like "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and "Let It Snow" appear briefly before modulating into deconstructed variations on blues, bop and swing motifs. Further emphasizing its connection to the music's historical continuum, the album length improvisation is divided into individual tracks with punning titles like "Proxy," "Roxy" and "Biloxi"—a sly reference to Rollins' staple tune "Doxy."

Proving his mettle as a magnanimous leader (without refraining from the action), Irabagon occasionally assumes the role of sideman for Altschul and Brendler, plying hypnotic John Coltrane-inspired fragments as harmonic support. Brendler is a stalwart supporting player with a stout tone and bracing technique, but it is Altschul's fulsome attack that dominates the rhythm section, with contributions that are as rousing as his iconic collaborations with Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers three decades ago.

A tour de force of ardent virtuosity and cogent interplay, this marathon blowing session is a potent reminder of the joyous spontaneity of jazz in all its stylistic permutations, and a bold statement from a young artist on the rise.

Track Listing: Foxy; Proxy; Chicken Poxy; Boxy; Hydroxy; Biloxi; Tsetse; Unorthodoxy; Epoxy; Roxy; Foxy (Radio Edit); Moxie.

Personnel: Jon Irabagon: tenor saxophone; Peter Brendler: bass; Barry Altschul: drums.

Title: Foxy | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Hot Cup Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

What Have We Here

What Have We Here

Jon Irabagon
Inaction is An Action

The Cost of Modern Living

The Cost of Modern Living

Jon Irabagon
Behind The Sky

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics

Dr. Quixotic's...

Irabbagast
2018

buy
Behind The Sky

Behind The Sky

Self Produced
2016

buy
Inaction is An Action

Inaction is An Action

Self Produced
2016

buy
Inaction is An Action

Inaction is An Action

Self Produced
2015

buy
Behind The Sky

Behind The Sky

Self Produced
2015

buy
It Takes All Kinds

It Takes All Kinds

Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980" CD/LP/Track Review Seems Like a Lifetime Ago 1977 - 1980
by John Kelman
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 30, 2018
Read "GRANITE" CD/LP/Track Review GRANITE
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 22, 2018
Read "Piano Works" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018