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Bobby Selvaggio: Modern Times

Jim Santella By

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Alto saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio carries an expressive torch when he fronts this ensemble. His fifth CD as leader brings nine original pieces and a cover of "You've Changed" into the improvisation arena for a program of acoustic modern jazz that ranges from quirky and dynamic to bluesy and frank. His fluid tone and easygoing articulation carry the alto and soprano on a journey that respects tradition while pumping new energy into the scene. Selvaggio leaps with high-octane drive on numerous romps and simmers gently with passion on the session's ballads.

A few expressive squeals and experienced blue tones help the leader to create his message with class. He and trumpeter Sean Jones interpret "More or Less" with an authentic legacy that recalls Julian "Cannonball" Adderley feeling down home and pretty much at ease. Along with piano, double bass and background drums, the quintet shines enthusiastically in its candor. Walking bass and an economical rhythm make this track stand out as an automatic favorite. The same happens with "Fastfood Wisdom," which provides sparks for Selvaggio's quintet in a flurry of expressive conversation. This unit has plenty to say, and it's all highly creative.

Selvaggio's title track takes a dreamy situation and allows it to ramble with lethargy as a tired soul with moaning interest. Other selections, such as "Out of Time" and "Timbuktu Step," follow a quicker pace that provides spontaneity and refreshing solace. Selvaggio moves randomly through a field where nothing stays the same as he lifts the music and shares it with his fellow artists in a show of rhythmic variety.

Pianists Kenny Werner and Dan Murphy add considerably to the leader's modern jazz session by planting its harmonic foundation and stretching out with creative solo work. Selvaggio enjoys the interplay and smokes alongside their stellar support. Each track contains a new surprise that finds the saxophonist and his musical partners carrying the jazz torch over uncharted territory.

Track Listing: Quick Solutions; Timbuktu Step; You've Changed; Whirlwind; Waiting; More or Less; Out of Time; Fastfood Wisdom; Time Being; Modern Times.

Personnel: Bobby Selvaggio: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone (4, 5, 10); Kenny Werner: piano (3-5, 7, 9, 10); Sean Jones: trumpet (1, 2, 6, 8); Matt Wigton: bass; Nathan Douds: drums; Dan Murphy: piano; Paul Tynan: flugelhorn.

Title: Modern Times | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz

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