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The Respect Sextet at Le Poisson Rouge

Jason Crane By

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Running throughout this ensemble is a strong sense of humor and joy. Saxophonist Rutner epitomizes this playfulness, although he's also a serious improviser and composer. Rutner seldom cracks a smile on stage, even when he's slamming a canvas tote bag full of percussion instruments on the floor or blowing the shofar—a Jewish horn that it is used for serious religious purposes, but is after all a large ram's horn. Rutner was also responsible for the recorded introductory piece that brought the band on stage. The recording featured the voices of Sun Ra and Stockhausen, along with audio from a Mentos commercial, chords from a Beatles album, and a count-off from educator Jamey Aebersold.

The Respect Sextet is that rare jazz animal—a band that has stayed together. On stage at Le Poisson Rouge, the band proved that longevity has its place, and that six friends can combine forces into a whole that is truly worthy of its parts.


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