Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Microscopic Septet: Lobster Leaps In

251

Microscopic Septet: Lobster Leaps In

By

Sign in to view read count
Microscopic Septet: Lobster Leaps In
Under the co-leadership of pianist Joel Forrester and soprano saxophonist Phillip Johnston, the Microscopic Septet made their mark on the Downtown scene in the '80s with a boisterous, genre-busting blend of swing, bebop and avant-garde jazz, delivered with a healthy dose of offbeat humor. Now, after a hiatus of more than a decade-and-a-half, the group once billed as "New York's most famous unknown band" is back. And, if a new album (their first in 20 years) and a March gig at New York's Le Poisson Rouge are any indication, the onset of middle age has done little to cool the band's sense of adventure and appreciation for the absurd.

With most of its original lineup still intact, the septet (four saxophones, piano, bass and drums) sounds remarkably tight despite its long layoff. Lobster Leaps In covers a typically broad range, from the off-kilter R&B of Wayne Horvitz's "Night Train Express" to the wailing dissonance of Forrester's "Money, Money, Money," the Caribbean lilt of Johnston's "Got Lucky" and Forrester's "Disconcerto for Donnie."

At the Poisson Rouge date—a double bill with the like-minded avant-rock unit One Ring Zero—the Septet was in top form, mixing selections from the new album with unique arrangements of Monk's "Mysterioso" and Billy Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately." Between Johnston's wry between-song patter and the fine, crowd-pleasing solos from everyone (with particular kudos to Forrester and baritone saxophonist Dave Sewelson), the Microscopic Septet served notice that they remain one of New York's most distinctive and entertaining groups.

Track Listing

Night Train Express; Disconcerto for Donnie; Lobster Leaps In; Got Lucky; Lies; Life's Other Mystery; Almost Right; Money Money Money; Lt. Cassawry; Twilight Time Zone; The Big Squeeze.

Personnel

Microscopic Septet
band / ensemble / orchestra

Phillip Johnston: soprano saxophone; Don Davis: alto saxophone; Mike Hashim: tenor saxophone; Dave Sewelson: baritone saxophone; Joel Forrester: piano; David Hofstra: bass; Richard Dworkin: drums.

Album information

Title: Lobster Leaps In | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

More

Dances Of Freedom
Samo Salamon
Elegy for Thelonious
Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble
Light Streams
John Donegan - The Irish Sextet

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.