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Ralph Lalama Quartet: The Audience

C. Michael Bailey By

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Dexter Gordon achieved a post-bebop tenor saxophone sound that was Somewhere between the sleepy, vibrato-less tone of Lester Young and the falling-off- the-edge wail of John Coltrane. Yonkers native Ralph Lalama comes It is out of this tradition. On his fifth recording as a leader and his first release since 2008's successful Energy Fields (Mighty Quinn), Lalama elbows his way to the center with his virile, muscular tenor tone.

Lalama has been an important sideman in several seminal bands, including a membership in Woody Herman's 1976 Thundering Herd, a 25-year stint with the [{Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra}} and Joe Lovano's nonet. This has provided Lalama the exposure necessary To drive his solo efforts, all which are uniformly fine.

Leading a guitar-based quartet, Lalama mixes up his recital with multi-genre crossovers from the old standards ("I'm An Old Cowhand," hats off to Sonny Rollins), the new standards (Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City") and those rising in the mix (Wayne Shorter's "Marie Antoinette" and Duke Pearson's "Minor League"). Lalama's own compositions flesh out this musical map into a three-dimensional topography characterized by craggy, angular heads and equally circuitous solos from the saxophonist and guitarist John Hart. The charm of this recording is the stylistic chances Lalama takes without ever making it sound like he's taking chances.


Track Listing: Marie Antoinette; Livin' For The City; Love Thy Neighbor; Jonme; Portrait of Jennie; Minor League; Jome; Kiss & Run; Ricme; I'm an Old Cowhand.

Personnel: Ralph Lalama: tenor sax; John Hart: guitar; Rick Petrone: bass; Joe Corsello: drums.

Title: The Audience | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Mighty Quinn Productions

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