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Roy Nathanson: Sotto Voce

It’s been six years since saxophonist Roy Nathanson issued his acclaimed concept album Fire at Keaton’s Bar and Grill. What he has come up this time is difficult to describe and easy to enjoy. Sotto Voce blends bebop, funk, free improv, poetry and hip-hop, and the result is bizarre and irresistible.

Nathanson’s unusual quintet includes violinist Sam Bardfeld and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes-the three are members of the Jazz Passengers-as well as bassist Tim Kiah and human beatbox artist Napoleon Maddox: Anything that resembles drumming or percussion on this album is courtesy of Mr. Maddox’s mouth. All of the band members provide vocals in one form or another.

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