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Adam Larson: Second City

Mike Jurkovic By

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For those out there who love it when a saxophonist hits the ground running, immediately taking control of the proceedings with their eyes and ears set on the far horizon, then Second City twenty-seven year old Adam Larson's fourth disc—yes fourth!—is the thrilling disc to be hearing right now.

Leading a punchy and tenacious quartet comprised of keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Clark Sommers, and drummer Jimmy Macbride Larson's sax leaps and bounds over Chicago (where the Second City was recorded at Electrical Audio) and rarely stops for a red light. "Who Even Is That?" a succinct and wiry opener sets the pace and a very high bar simultaneously. With Larson's warm tone and effervescence, the lengthy hop, bop, and jump of "First Step" is an exhilarating rush of New York groove and New Orleans' sway, with each player locked into each other like veterans twice their age. "Perpetuity" returns us to the excitement telescoped in the opening track. Pianist Clearfield and drummer Macbride are exceptionally inspired on "Uphill Climb," reveling in the freesom and airspace that Larson builds into his music.

Though at times you might find yourself trying to catch your breath with the cascading rush of riffs and rhythms rolling from Larson's brain to his saxophone, each track here sizzles with energy, including the quartet's cunning re-invention of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (built from and off of The Bad Plus cover.) If Adam Larson's music is new to you, check out Second City's immediate predecessor, 2015's Selective Amnesia. You won't be disappointed.

Track Listing: Who Even Is That?; Out the Window; First Step; Smells Like Teen Spirit; Sleep Now; Perpetuity; Uphill Climb; Breakout.

Personnel: Adam Larson: tenor saxophone; Rob Clearfield: piano, Rhodes and Wurlitzer; Clark Sommers: bass; Jimmy Macbride: drums.

Title: Second City | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music


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