Friday, October 8, 2010

Jon Irabagon Blows His Top On "Foxy"!

The album is called Foxy (Hot Cup 102). F-O-X-Y.

Just skip the review and go get it right now! No, I am only kidding. What is it we are talking about? We are talking about Jon Irabagon on tenor, Barry Altschul on drums, and Peter Brendler on bass. We are talking about 78 minutes or so of Jon Irabagon blowing his top! It's a mid-up swing groove with "Jumping with Symphony Sid" as the nominal underlying implication. It's no coincidence but also very funny how the album sleeve's front panel takes Rollin's Way Out West cover art concept and burlesques it with a bikini-clad would be tenor-wielder standing in the desert in place of Rollins. Funny! But the music is something like the cover. Read on!

That does not begin to describe what goes on, though. Take Sonny Rollins at his best, mid-Period Trane on a sheets-of-sound tear, Roland Kirk on one of his most fantastic tenor solo flights, then just put an h-bomb in the bell of the sax.

This is one incredible performance. Irabagon has been known to be a man of adventure, especially as a member of Mostly Other People Do the Killing and as a guest with Puttin On the Ritz. Nothing is sacred but that stance is sacred. For Foxy the bop extended solo becomes an epic, almost a send-up of itself. But no, this is very serious blowing. They stick close to the changes (and imply them when things get over-the-top) but there is so much fire one might suspect arson is the cause.

Barry Altschul never sounded better. He fires up and never lets up for 78 minutes. He pushes Irabagon to just blow his top, man, and that's what Irabagon does.

This is some of the most impressive blowing I've heard in the last ten years. Irabagon is monstrous. He plays with musical cells, then comes out with lightening runs, he circular-breathes his way into some wild phrase repetitions and he has the hard sound of classic-wailing-gone-berserk all the way through.

I don't think I need to say anything more. Good lord, this one is hot!


  1. Hello again,

    You can hear Jon talk about this record on The Jazz Session. Here's the link:

    All the best,


  2. Thank you for the link Jason!