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Collective Identity: The Mass

If, like me, you find the sound of well-assembled saxophone ensembles not unlike listening to, say, recordings of classic doo-wop groups like the Moonglows, you’ll find much to like in Collective Identity, which formed in 1997.

For in addition to the sometimes ruminative, sometimes outre solo contributions by members Sam Newsome (soprano), Jorge Sylvester (alto), Aaron Stewart (tenor) and Alex Harding (baritone), The Mass sports originals such as Harding’s title track-its harmonic base is perfect for the sumptuous unison lines the group executes so well.

Equally memorable is an arrangement of fellow saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti” by composer Amadou Diallo, in which Shorter’s mysterious, elegant theme is slowly and lovingly unfurled-each player reveling in their contributions, and Shorter’s harmonic and melodic shadows.

Most highly recommended.

Originally Published