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Daunik Lazro: Some Other Zongs

Mark Corroto By

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To designate saxophonist Daunik Lazro the French Joe McPhee—or, perhaps, the French equivalent to Evan Parker—is to illustrate not only the proficiency he has with his instrument, but his formidable improvisational skills. For his second solo release, Some Other Zongs, he sticks solely to the finicky and often blunt baritone saxophone—an instrument which, in the hands of a master musician like Lazro, sheds its dull and undistinguished patina to emerge full-flowered.

Some Other Zongs follows his previous solo outing, Zong Book (Emouvance, 2001), where he also doubled on alto saxophone. Lazro has toured with both McPhee and Parker, and has been found in the company of kindred improvisers like Michel Doneda, Lê Quan Ninh, Joëlle Léandre, and Carlos Zingaro.

The disc opens with two tracks from the 2010 Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans, and ends with four from a 2011 Saint Merry Church concert. McPhee's "Vieux Carré" is a simple blues played with a melancholy stride. Lazro's pace is a nod to sedate rocking—a short trip back to the very roots of jazz. He then takes off over-blowing, working multi-tones and the upper register of his instrument. "Caverne de Platon" is a primer on the limits of his instrument, bottom and top. What is admirable about Lazro's technique is that it is rarely coerced or bullied. He paces each piece with almost equal amounts of quiet and sound.

The remaining four tracks ("Zongs") are a bit more open with time signatures , and range from three minutes to the nearly eighteen-minute "Zong At Saint Merry 4." "Zong At Saint Merry 3" is an over-blowing fest that turns into high pitch vocalizations and resolves with some honking splats and splotches, while "Zong At Saint Merry 4" showcases some nifty circular breathing, demonstrating that Lazro is a complete player and master improviser.

Track Listing: Vieux Carré; Caverne de Platon; Zong At Saint-Merry 1 ; Zong At Saint- Merry 2; Zong At Saint-Merry 3; Zong At Saint-Merry 4.

Personnel: Daunik Lazro: baritone saxophone.

Title: Some Other Zongs | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Ayler Records

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