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Album Review

Chet Doxas: You Can't Take It With You

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Chet Doxas: You Can't Take It With You
Tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas has been getting attention in recent years by collaborating with prominent musicians such as Dave Douglas and Carla Bley. On this album he explores his own compositions in a trio with two sympathetic partners, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Thomas Morgan. Doxas' music here falls into one of two general styles, slippery blues-inflected pieces reminiscent of Jimmy Giuffre's trios with Jim Hall or more abstract work where the three musicians take on roles complementary to each other rather than playing together..

"You Can't Take It With You," "Twelve Foot Blues" and "Up There in the Woods" are all examples of the former style, Doxas' tenor saxophone slyly slips around and through Iverson's and Morgan's creeping interplay through a walking blues beat on "Take It With You," a tango rhythm on "Twelve Foot" and an easy-rocking shuffle on "Woods" where the tenor saxophone serenades melodically above clanging piano chords.

The more experimental pieces cover a wide range of sounds. "Lodestar," dedicated to Lester Young, has the trio softly hammering together on single-note lines. Doxas keeps honking quietly through the piece even as Iverson's strummed piano strings start to clash with his sound.. "Part of a Memory" is a muffled solo tenor saxophone bellow which becomes fuller and louder as the bass and piano respond somberly. "Cheryl and George," named for Doxas' parents, is a line of low unison harmonies eventually invaded by quiet piano fragments while "All the Roads" makes a graceful sound out of long saxophone tones combined with impressionistic piano chords and bowed bass. "The Last Pier" owes something to both camps. It starts with florid romantic piano answered by a moody tenor saxophone line. Eventually Morgan's bass comes in, bringing a noirish swing feel and the music develops a sense of drama. By the end, the piece resembles one of John Lewis' baroque-to-blues compositions for the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Chet Doxas shows off his prowess as a tenor saxophonist and his talent for experimentation and composing here. His fresh, quirky ideas sometimes evoke the Third Stream concepts of combining jazz and classical music, and his partners, Iverson and Morgan, sound very comfortable following his lead. This album contains subtlety, humor and adventure, wrapped into an appealing package.

Track Listing

You Can't Take It With You; Lodestar(for Lester Young); Part of a Memory; Cheryl and George; Twelve Foot Blues; The Last Pier; Soapbox; Up There in the Woods; All the Roads; View from a Bird.

Personnel

Chet Doxas: saxophone; Ethan Iverson: piano; Thomas Morgan: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: You Can't Take It With You | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings


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