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Michael Marcus: Sunwheels

Jim Santella By

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From the soul. His 8th album as a leader offers more proof that saxophonist Michael Marcus digs down deep every time out. As adventurous as his biggest musical inspiration, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Marcus creates tone poems that swing. He wrote each piece for this album; some are tributes.

Swinging and applying muscular saxophone energy, the leader dedicates homages to John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Charlie Parker. Playing tenor on most tracks, Marcus gets his trio involved in the way things are supposed to work: swing a little, produce together as a team and encourage creativity along the way. They've been together for a few years. Rahn Burton was with Kirk. Consequently, the artists possess a cohesive force that eliminates rough edges. Seamless, and without one overly dominant voice, the ensemble works through a one-hour program that offers variety. Conguero Patato Valdes makes a substantial impact on the presentation, in that the ensemble is able to draw upon varying levels of tradition.

Marcus plays stritch (a straight alto sax) on three pieces and doubles up stritch & saxello on his brief "Psychic Circles." The program provides a rhythmic, contemporary groove; particularly on "We Are, Now" and "Midtown Sojourn."

Track Listing: Eternal All; The Zenith; Pinball; Golden Memory; Sunwheels; Moonvoices; Midtown Sojourn; Psychic Circles; Celestial Origins; We Are, Now.

Personnel: Michael Marcus- straight tenor saxophone, stritch, saxello; Rahn Burton- Hammond B3 organ; Nasheet Waits- drums; Carlos "Patato" Valdes- congas.

Title: Sunwheels | Year Released: 2001

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