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Javier Vercher is a young, prodigiously gifted Spanish saxophonist who first made an impact as a member of the Oscar Penas Quintet on the 2004 CD Astronautus. Now, on Introducing The Javier Vercher Trio (also on Fresh Sound New Talent), Vercher justifies the promise he showed earlier. With an audacious mixture of swinging post bop and powerful free playing, Vercher has created a debut of considerable impact.
On the opening track, Ornette Coleman's hip tune "Bird Food," Vercher cooks with a strutting, swaggering swing, punctuated by unpredictable uses of devices drawn from free music. He utilizes a similar approach on the straight-ahead "Norman." On the rubato ballad "Balada de Alfredo," Vercher recalls the intensity of Coltrane and Ayler, yet never detracting from his warm, personal tone.
The rhythm section is tight and together, as is required on a trio venture like this one. On the other hand, perhaps because Vercher is young and adventurous, he falters now and then. On "Bird Food," it sounds like he bobbles the closing theme statement a little bit. On "L'Euridice," his entrance, built around a sub-tone, is so striking that he spends a little too much time trying to catch up with himself. (It's a good solo nonetheless.)
But these are minor considerations. Throughout, Vercher and his sidemen play consistantly rewarding music. Young, brilliant pianist Robert Glasper makes two fine guest appearances and is especially rewarding on the swinging waltz "L'Euridice." Javier Vercher is already a major new voice, and hopefully he'll continue to build on the foundation he has started with this fine introduction.
Track Listing: Bird Food, Pollack Springs, Balada de Alfredo, L'Euridice, Pollack Springs-Duet, Norman, Orfeo, Entrance Door.
Personnel: Javier Vercher, tenor saxophone; Chris Higgins, bass; Brannen Temple, drums; Robert Glasper, piano
(tracks 4 & 7); Rakalam Bob Moses, drums (tracks 2 & 8).
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.