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Joel Frahm: Sorry, No Decaf

“Smokin’ Joel,” the opener, establishes Frahm’s credentials as a blustery modern tenor saxophonist who has listened to Joe Lovano and Mike Brecker. “Elroy Sparta,” the second piece, shows off his full soprano sound handsomely. “Interesting Perhaps, but Hardly Fascinating Rhythm” brings in a Dewey Redman influence as Frahm solos on tenor over Doug Weiss’ bass and Matt Wilson’s drums.

David Berkman, the pianist on the session, is consistently impressive, especially in a duet with the leader on “Laura.” He begins with springy bop runs, weaves taut linear logic, and creates harmonic interest-all in a short space. A Latinized “Soul Eyes” and a Warne Marsh-like “Pennies From Heaven” are the other standards on the date. Good playing from all hands throughout this album.

Originally Published