Friday, August 21, 2009

Steve Baczkowski, Baritone Firebrand

Steve Baczkowski first got my attention on the CD The Dim Bulb, which I reviewed for Cadence several years ago. It was (and is) a great free hoot-out, notable for the locking horns of Mr. Baczkowski and Paul Flaherty. Steve's baritone sax tears through the session and holds steady with outside music vet Flaherty.

The fact that Steve centers his activities around Buffalo, NY, may have something to do with why he isn't better known. But he certainly has a real presence in that town, from what I understand.

Anyway I found a later CD, Tongue Rust and Lead Moth (Ultech) a while ago and am belatedly giving it mention here. It is a series of duets Baczkowski made with drummer Ravi Padmanabha and it is quite a lively and exciting listen. Ravi plays a thrash-and-tumble set of traps with dexterity and flair. He is a very good match for Steve's baritone improvisations. And Baczkowski is in his element. He freewheels his way through the set, running the sound color changes on his instrument and showing the creative inventiveness that places him at the top of the heap of the out bari's.

He's a fellow that needs to be heard. That can happen if you get this CD.

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