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Pluto Juice: Pluto Juice


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Pluto Juice: Pluto Juice
The EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) was popularized in the 1980s by the late sax great Michael Brecker, and allegedly is a difficult instrument to learn because the buttons are touch sensitive and its sound bank possesses the characteristics of multiple woodwind instruments. Moreover, the EWI contains a controller and a sound module and is not simply an electronic sax device. But highly regarded saxophonist Dayna Stephens seems to have surmounted any hurdles and conveys a rather all-inclusive scope on this jazz fusion tinted production.

As one might assume, the gist of this endeavor is cloaked within cosmological notions, as Stephens extracts just about all the possibilities (sounds and tonalities) via his expert knowledge and applications of the EWI. Moreover, the quintet navigates through gradually changing currents and solid building blocks. However, it's not just an album that supplies a seemingly endless stream of soloing, and it is not hypertensive, although the musicians merge into an imposing presence with mutable jazz and rock flavors amid a gamut of sweltering surges and jaunty exchanges.

"Pluto and Beyond" is launched with the leader's swirling with sinewy lines, while drummer Anthony Fung adds oomph to a mid-tempo groove, driven home by guitarist Andrew Marzotto's spirited soloing. It all equates to a rather soothing but deterministic means of constructing a melody, as the mood wavers between bluesy melodrama, ominous drum and bass cadenzas, along with the frontline's deft improvisations and reengineering processes, also evident on "Zoomed Out."

Indeed, the band packs a KO punch, and bassist Rich Brown often harmonizes with Stephens during melodic intervals, and the latter's sputtering EFX and dense explorations of his eight-octave instrument. On "Approaching Pluto" they churn out a slow rock pulse, emphasized by the drummer's slashing cymbals, and slightly tempered by the guitarist's initial installation of pathos, yet contrasted by speed-demon licks during the bridge, where they blossom, and then prepare the mothership for the descent back to common ground.

Track Listing

Welcome to our Snow Globe; Pluto and Beyond; Outskirts of Neptune; Rolly Polly Universe; Trial on Mars; Zoomed Out; Green Gargantua; Approaching Pluto; Lies that Tell the Truth.


Pluto Juice
band / ensemble / orchestra
Rich Brown
bass, electric
Dayna Stephens
saxophone, tenor
Additional Instrumentation

Dayna Stephens: EWI; Pete Rende: keyboards *6

Album information

Title: Pluto Juice | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Contagious Music



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