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Brooklyn Sax Quartet: Far Side of Here

John O’Gallagher shows up again on Far Side of Here (Omnitone) as one-fourth of the Brooklyn Saxophone Quartet, alongside fellow saxophonists Fred Ho, David Bindman, Rudresh Mahanthappa and the late Sam Furnace. The album features some quality writing by tenorist Bindman and baritonist Ho. Bindman’s work owes a debt to the various writers in the original World Saxophone Quartet, especially Julius Hemphill. His arrangement (with Royal Hartigan) of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” does credit to the tune’s spirit and substance, while adding much in terms of harmony and extended form. Ho’s writing is interesting as well. His melodies aren’t much, but he’s unpredictable, his harmonies are fresh and his handling of groove and rhythm-so important in a drum-less jazz band-is excellent. His “The Black Nation Suite” is the funkiest thing on the album. For my money, Ho is also the most raw and spirited soloist, the guy in the band I’d soonest pay to hear play.

Originally Published