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Roxy Coss: Restless Idealism

Dan McClenaghan By

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Upcoming saxophonist Roxy Coss opens her splendid Origin Records debut, Restless Idealism with a traditional approach on her original tune, "Don't Cross the Coss." It's a happy and assertive sound, and when she takes her first solo, her and robust tone bring Coleman Hawkins comes to mind. Coss and her band, churning along on a well-lubricated drive train of a terrific rhythm section, know how to open a show—feet are tapping and select members of the audience are pondering getting up and shaking a leg.

"Waiting," a restless near-ballad, ruminates on the musicians' plight of suffering the silent phone when the jobs aren't coming in as quickly as they should. Coss' impassioned sax laments, complains perhaps. Pianist Chris Pattishall injects, on his solo, an optimistic sparkle, giving way to guitarist Alex Wintz' succinctly stinging lines, while bassist Dezron Douglas and Willie Jones III lay down a flexible foundation for this marvelous arrangement.

This is an all original set from Coss, and she proves herself an adept tunesmith in the modern jazz genre. She also coaxes or charms or simply allows extraordinary contributions from her bandmates. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, one of Coss' important mentors/influences, trades solos with the saxophonist on "Push." Pelt is incendiary, flowing his brassy blue flames into a conflagration, while Coss, on her turns, blows out roiling black smoke that rises to the ceiling.

Coss is a top level saxophonist with a gorgeous tone. She writes interesting, modernistic tunes that tell gripping stories. She can put together a killer band, and she has come up with complex and intriguing arrangements that add an erudite depth to her compositions. A favorite: "Breaking Point" where she has layered the saxophone parts, fleshing out the harmony, switching to soprano from tenor for her lead. Lovely, lively sounds. Wonder what she would do with a larger ensemble?

Track Listing: Don't Cross The Coss; Waiting; Push; Perspective; Breaking Point; Happiness Is A Choice; Tricky; The Story Of Fiona; Almost My Own; Recurring Dream.

Personnel: Roxy Coss: Tenor and soprano saxophones; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Alex Wintz: guitar; Chris Pattishall: piano; Dezron Douglas: bass; Willie Jones III: drums.

Title: Restless Idealism | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Origin Records


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