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Radius of the Mind puts an older lionreedman Henry P. Warner, who participated in the NYC loft jazz scene in the early to mid-'70stogether with two younger lions, pianist Chris Parker and drummer Chad Anderson, in a trio that takes its inspiration from the striving spirituality of Coltrane and presents fervent solos within the framework of a truly democratic group.
Warner, who has been under-recorded and under the radar for a time, backs up the image he presentsbereted, bearded, darkly shadedwith a commanding presence on alto saxophone and clarinet, with which he opens the program on "Z-Moe in a flat, straining tone above Parker's modal piano playing. Warner knows implicitly that a solo has to be built in order to stand on its own, and he's pushed to some exciting ecstatic blowing by Parker as their dialogue progresses. "Bridge is speedy and agitated, with Warner's furious playing anchored by a repeated piano phrase.
On "Spacesubwaysuite, Warner's alto reacts in stops and starts as Parker darts in and out of compositional spaces; Anderson's drums shadow the two leads to form a pure three-way improvisation. The trio mixes things up a bit as Warner sits out for "Crankshaft and Parker and Anderson run through different tempos and touches on "Taste, a duet for alto and drums, featuring Warner's declamatory style and generating majestic results.
These players have selected their influences carefully: Coltrane, naturally; the splintered melody in homage to the master on "Just Like Monk ; and the Cecil-esque runs up and down the keys on "Smiling Forehead (the name of drummer Hamid Drake's publishing company). Good guides to have, and while Anderson and Parker have the chops and the sensibility to deliver rhythmic diversity, musical energy, and melodic creativity, Warner is the one whose life in music supplies the glue that bonds the three together.
Track Listing: Z-Moe; Bridge; Crankshaft; Spacesubwaysuite; Taste; Smiling Forehead; Just Like Monk.
Personnel: Henry P. Warner (alto sax/clarinet); Chris Parker (piano); Chad Anderson (drums).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.