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Myanna: One Never Knows

Multisaxophonist Myanna dedicated her latest album to Illinois Jacquet and includes an original ballad named for him. But it’s the final cut, “Road Rhythm,” a riff tune based on “I Got Rhythm” changes, that truly evokes the spirit of the late tenor-saxophone great. On that track, Myanna’s full, earthy sound and booting swing over jump-band accompaniment clearly reflect the venerable stomping tenor tradition Jacquet helped pioneer.

On the other eight tunes, however, she switches back and forth between tenor, baritone, alto and soprano saxes in a variety of settings exhibiting straightahead jazz, soul-jazz, jazz-pop, R&B and/or funk characteristics. She handles them all expertly, though, with a fine technique, an idiomatically appropriate tone quality and a sure sense of time. Several different instrumental combinations accompany Myanna, including, on most arrangements, the Hammond B3 organ or the electric piano (no synthesizers, however). Guitarist Kevin Barry contributes a number of excellent, blues-based improvisations. Drummer extraordinaire Bernard Purdie appears as a special guest with the Boston-based group, setting the five tracks on which he plays ablaze.

Originally Published