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Jazz Articles

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Jon Irabagon: Inaction is an Action & Behind the Sky

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It's a rare musician who can find ways to excel in multiple contexts, but saxophonist/composer Jon Irabagon is just such an artist. His timeline contains entries as collaborator as well as leader and his respective contributions are equally distinctive, suggesting his humility is equaled only by his independence. Because the nuances of his compositions are as fine as those of his musicianship, the sum effect of Irabagon's artistic arc conjures up the compelling notion that he is not only an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Inaction is An Action

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Inaction Is An Action, simultaneously released with its almost polar opposite Behind The Sky, is a force of nature embodied in the sopranino saxophone as “played" solo by Jon Irabagon. From the point of view of how each piece “sounds," and each track truly is a composition, its range is astounding. It should not be surprising that Irabagon has been working on the instrument (which sounds an octave above an alto sax) for a decade, by himself and with others. ...

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Jon Irabagon: Behind The Sky

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Simply put, Behind The Sky is a flat-out superlative recording by saxophonist Jon Irabagon. Straddling “inside" and “outside," it can be appreciated by those more comfortable with the straight-ahead (with some stretching, of course), as well as those who enjoy music which challenges the ear and mind. The “rhythm section," consisting of pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Rudy Royston, has worked with Irabagon a long time and it can be clearly heard, most easily in ...

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Jon Irabagon: Behind The Sky

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The cover of saxophonist Jon Irabagon's album Behind the Sky depicts a lonely man walking in a landscape of ice-clad mountains. The image is an apt metaphor for the grieving process that Irabagon tries to put into music. However, those expecting a ballad session of gentle contemplation are in for a surprise. Irabagon's musical landscape is far more knotty and rhythmically complex than the simple, but difficult art of the ballad. There are tender moments, sure, but also heated swing ...

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Jon Irabagon: Inaction is An Action

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The release of saxophonist and composer Jon Irabagon's album Inaction is An Action poses an interesting question. When should an artist release a record? It is not a matter of talent. Long ago, Irabagon has proven himself. He has won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition and gained success in every measureable way, including release on a major record label and critical acclaim. It is also not a matter of good or bad. ...

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Two Simultaneous Jon Irabagon Releases: Quartet & Solo

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Saxophonist Jon Irabagon has worked in a wide variety of settings, including Mostly Other People Do The Killing, the Mary Halvorson Quintet, Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor, and the Dave Douglas Quintet. For the 2015 release on his own Irabbagast Records label he released two records on the same day: Behind the Sky, with his quartet plus guest trumpeter Tom Harrell; and Inaction is An Action, for solo sopranino saxophone. The two albums could hardly be farther apart stylistically. Taken together ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Behind The Sky

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The grieving process is a personal journey and an act of discovery, allowing individuals to truly appreciate what was, while awakening to the reality of what is. And while no two people mourn in the exact same fashion, mourning itself, no matter the method, is almost always a cathartic experience. In the case of saxophonist Jon Irabagon, that emotional outpouring, connected to the loss of several loved ones and mentors, was channeled into Behind The Sky. Irabagon--winner ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Irabagon: Inaction is An Action

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Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, a central figure in Mostly Other People Do the Killing, guitarist Mary Halvorson's Quintet and leader of his own trio with drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Mark Helias is one of the most prolific composers and performers in music. Still in his thirties, Irabagon has amassed about eighty recordings as a leader, co-leader or sideman and his portfolio covers the breadth from big band swing to free improvisation. As his career has zig-zagged its way through diverse ...


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