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Pete Robbins: Pyramid

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Wichita Lineman"

New York-based saxophonist, composer Pete Robbins has been on a fast- track, surging to the upper echelon of global jazz talent. And Pyramid rekindles impressions of drummer, composer John Hollenbeck's early 2013 release Songs I Like A Lot, where specific pop and rock songs from yesteryear, inspire the artists to execute a personal reinterpretation or refresh via the essence of modern jazz frameworks. Moreover, Robbins reaps the positive benefits of a superstar-like supporting band, including the recent recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" grant, pianist Vijay Iyer.

The quartet molds complex unison progressions, pensive overtones and a breezy rendering of crooner guitarist Glen Campbell's highly melodic, Jimmy Webb penned pop hit "Wichita Lineman," which charted on the airwaves in 1968. Here, the saxophonist states the primary theme with airy intonations and raises the pitch, abetted by drummer Tyshawn Sorey's snappy backbeats. Robbins also dances around the core melody and launches into a soul-jazz vibe, then hands it over to Iyer during the bridge, who in turn, reformulates the entire periphery of the principle motif as the musicians heat matters up prior to closeout. It's just one of many stirring takes on pop and pop-rock lore, brimming with the artists' cunning improvisational segments and enlivening reinventions.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Pete Robbins: alto saxophone, clarinet (1); Vijay Iyer: piano; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Title: Pyramid | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Hate Laugh Music

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