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Roxy Coss: Roxy Coss

Edward Blanco By

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There is no question that women musicians have, and continue to play, a major role in jazz—from composers and band leaders such as Maria Schneider to renowned pianist Marian McPartland—but few make their mark as saxophonists. Roxy Coss is a New York-based saxophonist who, with her self-titled debut, joins the likes of Anat Cohen, Mary Fettig, Tia Fuller, and Karolina Strassmayer, as a saxophone voice with which to be reckoned. On her debut, Coss—on tenor and soprano saxophones, as well as flute—offers up eight superb originals, performed by her sextet.

The material includes elements of R&B, classical, funk and Latin styles, with a generally relaxed, modern jazz undertone. "Wandering One" begins the set with a warm-toned flugelhorn solo from Kate Miller, setting the stage for Coss' first solo, on a briskly swinging melody. "Lately" changes direction drastically, a heavy ballad that drags a bit in tempo, while the Latin swing is alive and well on "A New Time," where Coss, on flute, moves to an upbeat Latin rhythm. The album's most ambitious piece is, however, the gospel-influenced ballad, "Enlightenment," patterned after John Coltrane's "Dear Lord."

Coss does her best to be diverse on this first effort, and to that end she offers the funk-tinged "The Slow Accent." and contemporary "The Cherry On Top," two different but equally impressive charts. Coss ends the project with soprano, on the dark ballad "I Think So," returning to the tenor on her R&B finale, "July."

Neither flashy nor dull, Coss plays the saxophone with a measure of swing, swagger and sensitivity—all qualities that make this debut well worth a listen.

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