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Christian Winther: Soul House

This is Danish tenor saxophonist Christian Winther’s third SteepleChase album, a quintet date with trumpeter Marcus Printup, pianist Richard Doron Johnson, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ali Jackson. The music, all originals except Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys,” swings in a supple manner and recalls the Blue Note Records era of the ’60s, albeit tinged with New Orleans, Winther’s adopted home. The saxophonist’s playing, rhythmic and fluid, has a softer tonal side reminiscent of Hank Mobley (for example, on Jackson’s “For Kenny”).

Winther has learned the rhythmic lessons of New Orleans well, as his agile, blues-rooted playing on the Monk tune and Johnson’s “Ferris Wheel” shows. Printup is in fine form throughout-always tasteful, always appropriate for the tune at hand and always articulate. The rhythm section is well matched to the horns. But despite such effective music, Winther faces a common challenge: With so much jazz rooted in that old-school Blue Note vibe these days, one wonders how rising players will distinguish themselves.

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