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Dave Anderson Quartet: Clarity

In classical music, how you develop material is more important than its source. Simply put, “variations” always trump “themes.” Example: any of Elgar’s elaborately constructed Enigma Variations, as opposed to the original staid tune that gave birth to them. Similarly, in jazz, any improvisation is more interesting than the head, or melody.

Which segues to this debut album by composer/saxophonist Dave Anderson: a master class in giving eight originals (two other tracks are by Dizzy Gillespie and Joe Henderson), their fragments of scales or entire lines, complete make-overs harmonically, rhythmically and melodically. That’s how jazz-oriented writers develop their material. If you’re lucky enough to visit Seattle and hear the Anderson foursome live, don’t expect to hear the exact sounds contained herein. It’s just not in the DNA of thinking jazzmen to duplicate licks, riffs or over-all moods.

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