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Jason Rigby: Translucent Space

Dan McClenaghan By

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Multiple reedman Jason Rigby plays soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, as well as bass clarinet and wood flute, on Translucent Space. But it's not his skill with the instruments that makes the disc so rewarding, it's the fully realized ensemble sound he's crafted. The 31-year-old musician's debut recording puts on full display his considerable skills as a composer and arranger.

As a composer, Rigby cites influences ranging from Wayne Shorter and Ornette Coleman to classical artists like Glass, Mahler, Bartok and Shostakovich. I also hear a parallel with Andrew Hill in the rousing blend of written parts coexisting seamlessly with free-flowing improvisation.

Along with Rigby's various woodwinds, this ensemble includes trumpet, cello, flute and two additional clarinets, though not all instruments appear on every tune. The resultant sound is full of subtle colorations and cool expansive washes behind the leader's energetic soloing, with strong ensemble work and a sometimes frenetic rhythmic drive, as on "Turquoise Turkish."

"Atmospheric" lives up to its title with a dreamily amorphous listening experience, and "Southampton (UK)" locks into a snappy, off-kilter groove. "114" clatters and knocks; trumpeter Rich Johnson plays muted, dancing with Rigby's tenor with an ebullient elan. "Mumbai" drives hard on an African motif, with string bass and flute working a light/dark dynamic.

Translucent Space reveals a challenging yet approachable sound. It's an excellent disc—and a remarkable debut for Jason Rigby.

Track Listing: Turquoise Turkish; Southampton [uk]; Atmospheric; 114; Backandforthedness; Green of Greens; Mumbai; Christopher.

Personnel: Jason Rigby: tenor, soprano and alto saxophones, bass clarinet, wood flute; Mike Holober: piano, Rhodes; Cameron Brown: bass; Mark Ferber: drums, cymbals; Rich Johnson: trumpet; Lauren Riley: cello; Soo-Kyung Park: flute; Sam Sadigursky, Jason Gillenwater: clarinet.

Title: Translucent Space | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

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