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Andy Laster’s Lessness: Window Silver Bright

Alto/baritone saxophonist Andy Laster’s music should not function as well as it does. After all, the compositionally minded Laster has provided his quintet, Lessness (named with a passage from Samuel Beckett in mind), with a matrix of constantly shifting, overlapping compositional styles and dense, polyphonic themes. Laster likes the odd juxtaposition, and to that end, he’ll suture funk to a passage of chamber music, or moody noir to breakneck bebop. All of this would add up to a postmodern train wreck in less-talented hands.

It seems somewhat relevant also to mention that Laster spent a fair number of financially stable years as a member of Lyle Lovett’s band, and maybe there he learned a thing or two about listenability, which Window Silver Bright certainly has. With a neat, orderly sound that keeps ears close even as the compositions take strange detours, the music is light-footed at practically every point and loaded with attractive themes and effective compositional turns and pivots.

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