Friday, March 8, 2013

Felipe Salles, Departure, with Randy Brecker

In the land of contemporary jazz the composer-instrumentalist is king. If you can play and you have good compositional ideas, you have a jump on others as a bandleader, it seems. We leave out the avant zone here, where that may not apply. (Composing in a formal sense, that is. Avant players of course have to play well too and they may improvise compositionally without necessarily composing per se.)

Brazilian saxophonist Felipe Salles has both. You can hear that to good end on his album Departure (Tapestry 76020-2). It's a sextet with Randy Brecker showing his good self on trumpet. With occasional part overdub the "head" sections have a fullness that augments the experience in ways that enhance the totality.

Felipe plays a modern tenor (plus soprano, flute and bass clarinet) in a sort of post Michael Brecker way, fluid and ornate in a post-Shorter-Trane mode.

It's a modern hard bop and beyond, prog-eight straight and swing sort of territory. There are progressive elements and harmonic movement to keep things interesting. The compositions have weight and the band digs in well. Kudos are in order for pianist Nando Michelin, who takes some nice solos.

The more I listened, the more I liked, until I just plain liked much. By the way this is Felipe's fifth, so it has definite seasoning. A very good kickoff, here in the second quarter!

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