Charlie Mariano: Savannah Samurai

Charlie Mariano’s musical life hearkens back to Boston and the vibrant early days of bebop in the 1940s. His career has taken many turns since then, through Kenton, Toshiko, and Mingus, then jazz rock, a life in Europe, and progressive sounds.

A unifying force is his pungent, darting approach on the sax and his liquid sound. These factors are present on his latest recording, a quartet on the German JazzLine label.

The group includes the guitar of Vic Juris, Dieter Ilg on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield at the drums. The program is in two parts, seven original pieces by the group, and then the “Climate Suite”, an atmospheric tone poem for the four seasons.

The work is open and spare, with an ethereal feeling that is enhanced by Mariano’s musicianship, and the angular lines of Juris’ guitar, that create a heady tableau for a palette of warm color and grace within this idiom.