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Don Lanphere: Don Still Loves Midge

This sequel to Lanphere’s 1983 Don Loves Midge finds the saxophonist lean and lyrical. He plays less than he did in his bebop youth and through most of his career. Now, he emphasizes melodic shape rather than filigrees of passing notes. The self-editing pays off; this is some of his most attractive work. Lanphere’s economy of style enhances accessibility as well as musicality. Then there’s the matter of his sound. His tenor has deeper tones than it used to, his soprano wider ones. In “Blues for Midge,” he makes an unaccustomed appearance on alto sax, the horn blending effectively in the unison melody with Dave Peterson’s guitar. On Lalo Schifrin’s “The Right to Love,” his chesty tenor floats on the fullness of Jim Knapp’s arrangement for an ensemble of horns.

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