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George Garzone: Crescent

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George Garzone is a musician’s musician, renowned as both a tenor saxophonist and an educator. But he remains relatively little known to the wider listening public. Perhaps his new album with two of his former Berklee students, much-celebrated bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding and her frequent keyboardist Leo Genovese, will help change that.

The emphasis here is on musicianship more than originality. Half of the eight tunes on Crescent are skillful interpretations of standards: Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way,” Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Like Someone in Love,” Billy Eckstine’s “I Want to Talk About You” and Fred Lacey’s “Theme for Ernie”-each of which Garzone lodestar John Coltrane recorded on one late ’50s album or another, whether his own or as a sideman with Miles Davis. The title track itself is an emotive cover of one of Coltrane’s compositions, and demonstrates the freer leanings Garzone harnesses in his longstanding Boston-based trio the Fringe. But the other covers play up his and his bandmates’ considerable straight-ahead and balladic strengths.

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