Thursday, March 15, 2012

Noah Kaplan Quartet, Descendants

Tenor saxist Noah Kaplan graduated from the New England Conservatory, where he quite obviously studied with the late Joe Manieri, and now emerges with an interesting album centering on his quartet, Descendants (HatOLOGY 688). It's a freewheeling avant date with very nice collective and individual moments from Joe Morris, guitar, Giacomo Merega, electric bass, Jason Nazary, drums and of course Kaplan.

I found I first had to get used to Noah's playing style, which uses glissandos and quarter tones along with bursts of more "conventional" avant phrasing. It's ultimately well worth hearing what he does here, though it takes a while to get into. Joe Morris's chromatic atonality is well suited as a countervoice to Kaplan and he sounds quite nice on this session, as always. Merega and Nazary open things up quite a bit in the free domain and so give the front line the ultimate flexibility to weave their spells.

It takes a few listens to get acclimated. Then, if you are like me, you dig it.


  1. Grego!

    So interesting that you made the point about repeated listening. Noah suggests the same thing in our interview:

    All the best,


  2. Hi Jason,

    Glad he did too. He's playing in such an original way that on first hearing, you say, "What?" Then in time you get it. Also the group interplay is subtle and needs to be savored. I'm sure readers will want to check out your interview, as I will be doing as well. Thanks for checking in!