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2001 Vitoria-Gasteiz and San Sebastian Jazz Festivals

Odean Pope

By the time alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel brought his 11-piece Warriors of the Wonderful Sound big band to the stage to close the two-day Collective Voices Festival the crowds at the South Street club Tri-Tone had already experienced a full array of wonderful sounds presented by over two dozen of Philadelphia’s sound warriors.

Drawing primarily from the pool of musicians that had already performed during the fest (more than half played in other bands as well), Zankel’s Warriors summarized the close-knit aesthetic of Philly’s outsider jazz scene: a little weird, a little soulful and ignoring rules more so than trying to break them. Featuring some exciting locals like tenor saxophonist Elliott Levin, guitarist Rick Iannacone and baritone saxophonist Anawim Avila, the band’s hour-plus set of Zankel compositions was tightly composed, mildly chaotic and thoroughly enjoyable, although it was witnessed by only a fraction of the original crowd, which continued to diminish throughout the evening.

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