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Justin Chart: Live In Los Angeles


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Justin Chart: Live In Los Angeles
Los Angeles-based, award-winning, musician Justin Chart is both an accomplished singer-songwriter and a superlative saxophonist. Chart infuses his jazz work with a distinct melodicism and his pop songs with a crackling spontaneity. A number of his releases are recorded in one take and are mostly improvised while eschewing dissonance and embracing lyricism. His tenth, Live in Los Angeles, is no different. Accompanying him through this exciting set of 12 originals are a rotating cast of sidemen all of whom share Chart's artistic vision.

"Swing with A Platinum Ring" has an effervescent cadence over which Chart elegantly embellishes the main theme with his fluid, wailing alto saxophone. Pianist Sam Ross takes center stage with a crystalline cascade of notes, adding to the urbane ambience of the tune. Drummer Matt Lesser's thunderous beats and bassist Nate Light's agile reverberating strings alternate, building a vibrant backdrop to Chart's delightfully acerbic alto.

Lesser joins bassist Johnny Hatton and keyboardist Jon Greathouse, forming a subtly sashaying rhythm section on the cinematic ballad "Rame." Chart coaxes out of his alto saxophone yearning and wistful phrases which are a perfect match to trumpeter Mike Cottone's burnished, warm sound. Hatton solos with melancholic poetry as Lesser and Greathouse support with their hypnotic vamps. The ensemble improvisation is remarkable on this as well as the entire session, as each member of the band deftly adds to the collective extemporization without losing their individuality.

The thrillingly dramatic atmosphere runs through the entire recording. "The Right Moves," for instance, features the above quintet but with Taiza Oliveria taking over the drummer's seat. Soulful, and with a bluesy edge, it opens with Cottone's swaggering trumpet, the passion of which is reflected in Chart's own soliloquy. The group's percolating refrains buoy both horns and drive the music with their restless and simmering tempo.

Chart also plays the baritone saxophone with boisterous yet measured bravado on such pieces as the exuberant "Fingers & Humdingers." Pianist Chris Potter lays down lithe and breathtakingly brisk chords and bassist Andrew Hill responds with equally nimble walking lines. Drummer Abelardo Bolano drives the music with fervor. Chart switches between alto and baritone saxophones, letting loose from both saxophones a fiery flood of notes. Here, too, a captivating tension permeates the atmosphere.

Live in Los Angeles fully reflects Chart's singular creative approach. It sublimely balances intriguing ideas with emotive eloquence. Chart also excels as a bandleader not only in the cohesiveness of his various formations but also in allowing individual expressions within them. Overall Live in Los Angeles is a stimulating and enjoyable album which could also serve as a soundtrack for an arthouse film.

Track Listing

A Twilight Minor; Swing With a Platinum Ring; Rame; These Cats Are a Strayin; Funky Feelin; No One Knows; Saudade; Fingers & Humdingers; My Amorous Alto Justin Chart; Conversing With Los Angeles and I'm in Deep; The Seraphic Sound; The Right Moves.


Justin Chart: saxophone, alto; Mike Cottone: trumpet; Sam Ross: piano; Nate Light: bass; Matt Lesser: drums; Jon Greathouse: keyboards; Johnny Hatton: bass; Abelardo Bolano: drums; Taiza Olivier: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Andrew Hill: bass; Chris Potter: piano.

Album information

Title: Live In Los Angeles | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Universal Music Group

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