Nicolas Masson: Departures

Swiss-born tenor saxophonist Nicolas Masson is a thoughtful composer and an improviser with golden tone and an obvious command of his instrument. But his aesthetic here is so insufferably dour, the trudging tempos so interminable, they’ll have the listener

yearning for any kind of change of pace. Mournful dirges like “Amber,” “The Faun,” “The Boomerang” and “The Slope” are prime examples, and even the stellar guitar work of Ben Monder (particularly his sick, distortion-laced solo on “Off Rhyme”) and the wonderfully intuitive drumming of Ted Poor can’t rescue this outing from the doldrums. In other words, the track “Morbid and Delightful” gets it only half right.