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Jed Levy : Gateway

New York tenor saxophonist Levy combines instrumental technique akin to John Coltrane and Michael Brecker with a cooler emotional delivery reminiscent of Rich Perry and a certain compositional obliqueness that recalls Wayne Shorter. He certainly knows all the ins and outs of harmony and the intricacies of rhythm. This album, a quartet session with pianist George Colligan, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Billy Drummond, includes seven Levy originals plus the standards “Lost April” and “How Am I to Know.” Drummond, given to aggressive (but never overbearing) interplay, often heats things up.

The title tune, with Levy’s high-register tenor clothed in Colligan’s piano chords, seems right for a contemplative winter afternoon. “Positivity” counters the ambivalence of the title track with warm, vigorous blowing. “Afterthought Blues” is a good-feeling, slugging blues groove. Levy plays “How Am I to Know” with bass and drums only, the group sound in the mood of Sonny Rollins’ memorable trio sessions.

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