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What We Live: What We Live

While the members of What We Live -bassist Lisle Ellis, saxophonist Larry Ochs, and drummer Donald Robinson-comprise one-half of saxophonist Glenn Spearman’s Double Trio, this dynamic trio takes a distinctively different tack than the larger Bay Area unit. The music of What We Live is much more ruminative than that of Spearman’s Double Trio, which primarily deals in high-powered free music. The generally lower voltage allows for a subtle, detailed interplay that is usually submerged in large ensemble blow outs. Additionally, it makes their occasional surges into overdrive all the more effective. A case of less is more, What We Live creates daring new jazz you can savor.

Accordingly, the import DIW disc provides a better introduction to the trio’s approach, as the Black Saint album features a different Bay Area-based guest artist on six out of seven tracks. Ochs is no mere appendage to the proceeding; in fact, his tenor and sopranino are often very much the lead voice. Yet, consistently throughout the DIW program, it is the collaborative efforts of Ellis and Robinson that commands attention, even when they are in clearly supportive roles. Their years of shedding together is evident time and again in the melding of Ellis’ sure sense of line and plump tone with Robinson’s uncluttered cymbal patterns and expert brush work.

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