(33Jazz218, CD Review by ChrisParker)
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The first line of Jean-Marc Gelin’s sleevenotes to this, altoist Sam Coombes‘ third album as leader, contains the words ‘urgency’ and ‘incandescence’, and no one who’s experienced the full-on power of the opening track, ‘Beacons’, will argue with either; some later moments are more contemplative, but the music’s default mode is vibrant energy.
Coombes is British, but has been based in Paris for much of the new millennium, and he employs two rhythm sections here, a French one (pianist Damien Argentieri, bassist Mauro Gargano, drummer Antoine Banvillle) and a UK one (pianist David Patrick, bassist Mario Caribé, drummer Tom Gordon), with whom he is to promote the album in spring and summer 2011. The material addressed is mostly by Coombes, except for a couple of tunes by Gargano and Wayne Shorter’s ‘ESP’ (Coombes featured on soprano on this track), and is firmly in the modern mainstream/post-bop tradition, Coombes weaving and bobbing, hurtling and (occasionally) musing over roiling rhythm-section work from both bands.
Vital, bristling with joie de vivre but not without its slightly darker side (‘Giudecca Song’, ‘Outlines’), this is a compelling, refreshingly high-octane performance from a saxophonist whose live shows should be well worth seeking out.
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