A Saxophone is Her Only Constant


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Some young jazz musicians find their style and move in lock, stock and barrel, making little refinements over the years but basically keeping their place. Ingrid Laubrock, a German saxophonist who started her career in London and has spent the last 15 years playing there, sounds happily unsettled. On tenor and soprano, shes omnivorous and pointed, slouching and precise, humorous and austere.

She doesnt stay very long within standard jazz idioms, or even some of the favored nonidiomatic languages of free improvisation. You can guess a bit at whom shes spent time listening to--Joe Lovano, Steve Lacy, Wayne Shorter, Lee Konitz--but shes not defined by any of them; they pass through her sound and then disappear.

For the last several years Ms. Laubrock has been visiting the United States now and then to study and perform, and on Wednesday night at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village she led a New York-based quartet--Mary Halvorson on guitar, John Hebert on bass, Tom Rainey on drums--with Kris Davis on piano occasionally as a fifth member. It was her own composed music, but sometimes as free as it could get within parameters.

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