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Chris Kelsey Trio: The Ingenious Gentleman of the Lower East Side

Working with bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Ed Ware, soprano saxophonist Chris Kelsey, presumably The Ingenious Gentleman of the Lower East Side in question, explores eight original compositions apparently from his own pen. Given quirky titles like “The Saxophonist of the Sorrowful Countenance” and “The Adventure In Which Our Hero Banged His Head Against The Wall.” Repeatedly, Kelsey’s tunes are a curious lot, primarily because none of the improvisations quite meets its lofty title.

Kelsey and Co. are decent enough players, however one is not thoroughly compelled towards return listens. There’s something of a hole in the middle of this donut and perhaps this trio might fare better as a quartet, with the addition of a chording instrument. It’s been said before and bears repeating: saxophonists should beware of the bass and drums trio format unless their chops are of the muscular, distinctive variety-and Kelsey’s are not.

Originally Published