Avram Fefer comes out swinging on Juba Lee, the second release from his quartet,. It must have certainly been fated, as the opener "Showtime" hits hard with its muscular sound. Fefer's tenor saxophone blows out any existing cobwebs before handing off to guitarist Marc Ribot. The music continues the rich sound heard on the quartet's critically acclaimed previous release Testament (Clean Feed, 2019). Fefer built this sound first in trio with bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Chad Taylor heard the recordings Ritual (Clean Feed, 2009) and Eliyahu (Not Two, 2011), before adding his spiritual brother Ribot.
Fefer's connection with Ribot solidifies the jazz-as-roots music aspects of this sound. Ribot has always dipped his hand into folk music, be it Cuban, Haitian, or post-punk and avant genres, and Fefer is comfortable traveling within African and Eastern sounds. "Brother Ibrahim," certainly dedicated to the South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, is grounded in the great man's melding of tribal sounds and jazz. Fefer's saxophones are complimented here, and throughout, by the intoxicating grooves laid down by bassist Eric Revis and drummer Chad Taylor. Taylor's brushwork informs the post-bop flavors of "Gemini Time," where Fefer's switches to alto and together with Ribot they trace an Ornette Coleman line. Dipping into the blues, "Say Your Sorry" plays out as a long muscular drag of sound. The finale "Sweet Fifteen (For G.T.)" is a tribute to the late journalist and Burnt Sugar bandleader Greg Tate. It is a sweet duet featuring Fefer's bass clarinet and Ribot's acoustic guitar that bids Tate to rest in peace.
Showtime; Bedouin Dream; Sky Lake; Juba Lee; Brother Ibrahim; Love Is In The Air; Gemini Time; Say You’re
Sorry; Sweet Fifteen (For G.T.).
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