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Jerome Sabbagh: Plugged In

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Jeli"

New York City-based tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh has made the rounds by performing with a who's who of modern jazz artists amid his flourishing career as a solo artist. Possessing a stout tone and commanding presence, the artist's lyrically resplendent phraseology is often a good fit for a variety of jazz settings, including mainstream and the outside realm. With his acoustic-electric quartet, Sabbagh enjoys a notable affiliation with Belgian keyboard virtuoso Jozef Dumoulin, who spawns a polytonal, electronics vista, complete with subliminal surprises and a consortium of bizarre twists and turns. It's a frothy, upbeat set where progressive-jazz and nouveau electronics signal an acquiescent medium, fused by abstract expressionism and standard contexts.

"Jeli" is a luminous exponent of the musicians' resolve. With a frisky gait, abetted by the pulsating rhythms, Sabbagh's blustery and fluid lines paint a portrait of a breezy Caribbean seaside resort. Dumoulin's distortion-shaded electric piano and treatments, inject a rough-hewn element into the schema. Here, the musicians meld an edgy overtone into an otherworldly space via linear progressions and a hard-boiled finale, largely due to the keyboardist's off-kilter voicings and keen use of electronics processing. In this light, the quartet abides by a nonconforming stance, where familiar territory is shrewdly shadowed by inventive aberrations.

Track Listing: Drive; Special K; Aisha; Jeli; Ronny; Walk 6; Ur; Minor; Rider; Boulevard Carnot; City Dawn; Walk 3 bis; Kasbah; Slow Rock Ballad.

Personnel: Jerome Sabbagh: tenor saxophone; Jozef Dumoulin: keyboards; Patrice Blanchard: electric bass; Rudy Royston: drums.

Title: Plugged In | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Bee Jazz


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