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Loren Stillman: Trio Alto Volume 2

Alto saxophonist Loren Stillman hasn’t reached age 30 yet but he’s rapidly stockpiling an impressive discography. His approach justifies the catalog, with a musical mind that can play it straight or excel in exploratory surroundings. He often sounds a bit like one of his main influences, Lee Konitz, due to his approach and no-nonsense tone.

The first volume of Trio Alto focused on standards and jazz classics. Trio Alto Volume 2 finds Stillman with a different rhythm section (bassist John Hebert, drummer Take Toriyama) and an eye toward freer situations. It finds the Konitz influence combining with the bite of Tim Berne, especially in the nine-minute “Sonic Boom,” on which he begins alone, with bass and drums treating the tempo with elasticity when they join him a couple minutes later. The equally lengthy “Liquid Radio” is marked by rising and falling dynamics. In “A Bright Idea,” the tempo shifts to double time and back, a la “Brilliant Corners.” “All Over the Place” accurately describes the disc’s 14-minute finale, but none of that time gets wasted.

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