Following up his strong 2010 album The Two Faces of Janus, saxophonist Jason Robinson basically doubles the exceptional band featured on it, resulting in a sound of unusual depth and density featuring (at times) dual clarinets (Marty Ehrlich and JD Parran), tubas (Marcus Rojas and Bill Lowe) and drums (George Schuller and Ches Smith). Robinson spent his formative years in California, but the spirit of Chicago’s AACM flows through this conceptual set via its darkly massed harmonies, freewheeling solos and the rolling gutbucket melodies of Henry Threadgill. (Two of Threadgill’s frequent collaborators, Rojas and guitarist Liberty Ellman, lend their firsthand authority here.) Highlights include the rousing, infectious “Elbow Grease,” featuring Robinson on tenor (he also plays soprano and flute), and “Radiate,” which begins as a silky, swaying exploration of light and dark and ends as a panoramic spectacle.Originally Published
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