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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Life in Realtime




Bourbon Street Boogie



Lullaby of Birdland

Motherless Child

New Song

The Other One

Out On Top

Stan Strickland (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet): Don Braden (tenor saxophone): Bill Pierce (tenor saxophone): Laszlo Gardony (piano): John Lockwood (bass): Yoron Israel (drums)

Recorded 29 September 2014, Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

SUNNYSIDE SSC 4019 [76:57]

Pianist Laszlo Gardony, best known for his solo and trio recordings, broadens his discography here with an album featuring no fewer than a trio of saxophonists.

Bourbon Street Boogie honours its place name with its easy-loping New Orleans vibe. Bill Pierce takes off on this one whilst Don Braden acts as an apt foil, preferring a more laid back approach before slowly screwing the tension in the second part of his audacious solo. Profitably adding to the gumbo, Gardony enters Professor Longhair-territory in his solo. By contrast Breakout offers terser, but rhythmically clear opportunities, full of insinuating melodic lines. The urgency is reflected in Braden and Pierce’s sax solos which end in a free-ish blow, and the leader’s swinging solo. All the compositions, except Lullaby of Birdland and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, are by the pianist-leader, who is also incidentally the disc’s producer. Gemstones is a fine tune, and his richly suggestive chording and apposite comping are highly effective here where. The three saxes – including Stan Strickland - overlap dramatically in the close. Incidentally I don’t think it’s my imagination that Gardony seems to evoke the sound of the cimbalom of his native country in this opus.

Birdland gets a funk-drenched makeover and Braden is at his throatiest, rawest here. Rather more to my taste is Strickland’s lightness and fluidity in handling the bass clarinet in Motherless Child, even at this rolling tempo – certainly no dirge here. Pierce’s tenor is altogether no-nonsense and straight-ahead. Strickland retains the instrument for New Song, where he shows he can squawk with the best of them, sounding avian, almost seagull-like. The blues visit The Other One, a utilitarian title for a pleasing, catchy song which shows the ensemble strengths of the band to great effect. And we end with another Big Easy-styled piece called Out On Top with, this time, a slightly looser sax sound - Braden is especially mercurial and exuberant – and more Longhair from Gardony.

This generously constructed album has been very nicely recorded live at Berklee and adds another feather to Gardony’s compositional and executant cap.

Jonathan Woolf

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