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Don Braden: The Voice Of The Saxophone

An outstanding feature of this CD’s packaging is the lengthy annotation by Benny Golson, perfect sense that an elder statesman tenor saxophonist- composer-arranger would support a younger giant this way. Braden displays his huge sound and visceral approach as well as his scores for octet, which includes Bill Cosby’s collaboration with Golson, “Monk’s Hat,” the former’s TV show theme. Randy Brecker, Frank Lacy and Vincent Herring stretch out on it; Hamiet Bluiett offers contrasts on Mobley’s “Soul Station” and Sam Rivers’ “Point of Many Returns.” And the rhythm section of pianist George Colligan or Darrell Grant, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Cecil Brooks III durably assists Braden on these and two quartet performances: Trane’s “After the Rain” and the title piece by Jimmy Heath. Braden’s ensembles don’t fill up much space but brassy textures dominate their open sonorities. Bluiett tempers the edges and bottoms of these sounds with clarinets or baritone. Braden scored his original “Cozy” for two flutes, clarinet and fluegelhorn to achieve the CD’s little masterwork.

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