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Max Johnson Trio: Orbit of Sound


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Max Johnson Trio: Orbit of Sound
Whereas Sketches (Fresh Sounds Records, 2022) could be considered a more traditional big bop trio recording with pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger and drummer Billy Mintz, Orbit of Sound, NY bassist Max Johnson's second heady release of 2022 finds him in the instigative company of the ever undefinable Anna Webber on tenor saxophone and flute and drummer Michael Sarin.

On the verge of completing a tour of Europe in the fateful February and March of 2019, the trio's final concert was canceled due to plague. So too was the subsequent recording of the music found here. So it is, after a year and a half, that a good-natured, almost impish sedition awaits the listener of Orbit of Sound.

Though the five compositions that make up the recording may all be credited to Johnson, it is immediately apparent from the first scalar, uncoiling run of Weber's breathy sax that intros and defines the hopping "Quick One" that each player had a full hand bringing these to life. As the tune moves from its head to its body, Sarin's rimshots and hi-hat wreak havoc on any sustained beat until he finds his center and Johnson holds it.

"Too Much Tuna" finds Weber playfully skipping away on flute as Sarin skitters and dissembles, leaving Johnson to intricately weave the whole wandering narrative. Darker tones permeate Orbit of Sound's two lengthier excursions, namely "Over/Under" where Johnson's unsettling sawing and Weber's slurry murmurs challenge Sarin to somehow make sense of it all. The freer, more flowing, but no less obstinate "The Professor" begs for definition which in the end hardly matters as Johnson's long, arcing aches and Sarin's anticipatory thrumming lends leeway to Weber who characteristically likes a lot of room. The closing "Shepherd's Morning" with its brooding wanderlust, ties the album up nicely and leaves one wanting more.

Track Listing

Quick One; Over/Under; Too Much Tuna; The Professor; Shepherd's Morning.


Additional Instrumentation

Anna Weber: flute (#3).

Album information

Title: Orbit of Sound | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self Produced



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