Tuesday, August 18, 2009

James Finn, Tenor Man Who Deserves Recognition

In the world of the improvisational music sometimes known as jazz, time is an expanded thing. Music recorded in 2004 is not old; music recorded in 1938 is not necessarily old either. The greatest pop phenom from 2004, on the other hand, may no longer be a part of any scene today. That's the way it is.

So when I finally get around to listening to and reviewing James Finn's Faith in a Seed (CIMP) from 2004, it is with a sense that this music is still with us, that there has been no diminishing of whatever its value may be for us.

James Finn plays a tenor sax that has a virile, tensile strength. His vibrato can be almost as wide as Albert Ayler; his facility with runs that incorporate harmonics suggests Coltrane; but his attack and linear sense are all his own.

Faith in a Seed is a trio date with the flexible and eloquent Dominic Duval (of Trio X) on bass and the very musical drummer Warren Smith (vet of many projects) joining Finn in a set of originals. This is high caliber free music, with unrelenting saxophonic virtuosity. It is prime evidence that Finn is an important tenor stylist.

His web site states that Mr. Finn is currently unavailable for performances. This is a real pity and I sincerely hope that he is well, and that he re-emerges in clubs and concerts in all his distinctiveness. In the meantime listen to Faith in a Seed. I think you'll be pleased to hear James Finn's improvisational prowess in this full-strength recital. Spread the word.

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