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It has been 20 years since Saxophonist’s Gary Thomas and Greg Osby have performed together. On Thomas’ new CD “Pariah’s Pariah, Thomas and Osby echo the same intensity and verve that was a hallmark of their meritorious efforts with the great drummer Jack DeJohnette and his marvelous “Special Edition” band. It is fairly evident that these young master’s have honed individual and uniquely identifiable styles which to a large degree is a high honor considering the Post-Bop resurgence of today’s sometimes mediocre and derivative “Young Lion” movement. Gary Thomas’ “Pariah’s Pariah” is a tour-de-force and much credit goes to the powerhouse rhythm section of Michael Formanek (b) and John Arnold (d).
“Who’s In Control?” commences with a thunderous introduction by the Superstar rhythm section of Michael Formanek and John Arnold. After a few choruses Thomas’ muscular “chops of doom” rapid fire attack surfaces. Thomas is a machine gun spitting bullets while Osby follows suit in similar fashion on Alto Sax. Osby tap-dances and darts all over his Alto as the question arises; “Who’s In Control?” Thomas and Osby square off in glowing fashion while the title track “Pariah’s Pariah” finds Bassist Michael Formanek pivoting the rhythm section with cunning aplomb augmented by resplendent and aurally enticing acoustic resonance. Here, Thomas picks up the Flute trading pleasant choruses with Osby as the rhythm section chugs along like a freight train generating an appropriate heavy handed bottom end to the flawless phrasing and execution of Thomas and Osby. “Vanishing Time” features some intuitive cymbal work and slick rimshots by John Arnold who knows when to step up the pace while adding the appropriate rhythmic nuance to the muscular phrasings and brisk thematic developments by this distinguished Sax section. Thomas’ full bodied and hard bop-ish Tenor sound serves as a perfect match for Greg Osby’s light-as-a-feather and fluid Alto licks. “Everything Is Relative” features Thomas and Osby stating choruses as if they were proclamations or edicts supported by thrilling sequences of call and response.
“Pariah’s Pariah” is a superb showcase for these two Saxophone giants. These gentlemen along with the astounding rhythm section of Michael Formanek and John Arnold have produced a powerful recording that instills hope and assurance for the future of Modern Jazz. Stefan Winter of Winter & Winter continues his superb track record of producing quality product that is essential listening for the serious Jazz collector/audiophile. “Pariah’s Pariah” hits the high mark and won’t disappoint. Highly Recommended.
Personnel: Gary Thomas; Tenor Sax, Flute: Greg Osby; Alto Sax: Michael Formanek; Acoustic Bass: John Arnold; Drums
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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