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Marc Jufer Trio: Trip To The Center

Jerome Wilson By

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Marc Jufer is a Swiss saxophonist who has worked in a variety of formats. Here he leads a trio with a fire-breathing rhythm section of bassist Lisa Hoppe and drummer Devin Gray.

Without a piano or other harmony instrument to support him, Jufer's sax playing comes off slinky and malleable. He subtly threads his way through his compositions, often ruminating at low pitch and volume before turning up the heat. This approach works because he has Hoppe and Gray to keep things focused. They give his efforts a steady foundation of nimble bass lines and acrobatic drumming. That leaves Jufer free to dip and dive over the slippery grooves of "Double Reverb," spin short, staccato phrases on "Symetrique Ascendant" and move from low murmurs to vaulting high shrieks on "Mrddg."

On "Sick" Jufer stays mostly in the low end of his tenor, bellowing like a melodic foghorn, while Hoppe and Gray stalk him with a measured pace. On "In Fact" he quietly slides up and down the scale while Gray pads around him with brushes and Hoppe shadows his circular phrases. The bassist takes a profound and soulful solo on "I Don't Know Why" before Jufer begins to attack the entire range of his tenor. He starts with low, subdued singing but his playing gradually becomes harder and faster. He climaxes with shrill, overpowering screams as Hoppe eloquently plucks alongside him and Gray rattles his drum kit. In contrast to that formal heaviness, "Bass No More" is the trio's playful James Brown moment. A splashy drum solo leads to stutter-step bass and sax notes that eventually resolve into an elemental funk groove, where Jufer's tenor hiccups over Gray's rolling fireworks and Hoppe's twisted bass lines.

Jufer's music can stroll between the forceful to the atmospheric but wherever he wanders on this session, Lisa Hoppe and Devin Gray are invaluable in keeping the music centered. Their tough and expressive rhythms give his sinewy sax lines context and shape.

Track Listing: Symetrique Ascendant; Mrddg; Sick; Double Reverb; In Fact; Sigh; Lou Sau Do Baou; i Don't Know Why; Bass No More.

Personnel: Marc Jufer: tenor sax; Devin Gray: drums; Lisa Hoppe: bass.

Title: Trip To The Center | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: QFTF

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