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Tim O’Dell: Before My Life

O’Dell, a saxophonist who teaches at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., shares certain musical characteristics with Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton and Steve Lacy. His alto often sounds coolly melancholy, like early Konitz, and, at times, the rigor of his performances suggests Braxton and Lacy. He is a thinking man’s player and composer.

“Id,” the opener, shows O’Dell’s kaleidoscopic writing; crazy, zigzag lines appear along with a chatterbox conversation and a rock-guitar sound. The message is that this leader and this group have open minds. O’Dell (on soprano), bass trumpeter Ryan Shultz and guitarist Steve Grismore are the front-line protagonists, with bassist Tatsu Aoki and drummers Dave Pavkovic and Jim Dreier active supporters. (The two-drummer lineup is standard for this group.)

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