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Hugh Fraser/Jean Toussaint: Back to Back

The Coltrane Quartet influences are at work in this album, in Fraser’s McCoy Tyner-thumping, Tyner-speed piano, and Toussaint’s squirming tenor saxophone figures. (These are descriptive generalizations and are not intended to imply that this is all there is to these versatile players.) The Virgin Islands saxophonist, a veteran of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and now a teacher at the Guildhall School of Music in London, has a dry, tight tenor tone and an emotionally charged way of developing a solo. One of his more reflective outings comes on soprano, on Fraser’s “Tristeza,” a tune and performance that suggests the melancholy mood of the movie ” ‘Round Midnight.”

Fraser, a Canadian who has won two Juno awards, also plays a J.J. Johnson-ish trombone on four tracks. These are freer than the six cuts with piano.

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