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Marc Mommaas: Global Motion

Of course, improv versus composition isn’t a battle to be won or lost. Sometimes the two thrive as equals. Witness tenor saxophonist Marc Mommaas’ Global Motion (Sunnyside), a finely crafted and sometimes even uplifting example of a progressive-but-not-precisely-avant-garde jazz aesthetic. Mommaas is a gifted tenor saxophonist, somewhat in the mold of Jan Garbarek, and a writer of intricate and pleasingly unpredictable tunes. On “3458” and “African FBI,” Mommaas seems to delight in subverting convention, especially in regard to time. Such metrically complex tunes are only as good as the band that wraps its chops around them. Mommaas’ crew (Nikolaj Hess, piano; John Hebert, bass; Tony Moreno, drums and percussion; Rez Abbasi, electric guitar and electric sitar) does the material justice, interpreting its quirks with grace. Mommaas is a workmanlike improviser, a bit overly touched by his models, perhaps, but a quality player. The overall level of intensity is fairly run-of-the-mill, but the music has its own nearly classical beauty, which is no small thing.

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