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Logan Richardson: Blues People (Ropeadope)

Review of album by alto saxophonist and roots-seeker

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Logan Richardson is one of the most talented alto saxophone players in jazz under 40. With his previous recording, Shift, in 2016, it looked like he had hit the big time. The label was Blue Note. The band included Pat Metheny and Jason Moran. Blues People, on a smaller label, with four young unknown players (three from Kansas City, Richardson’s hometown, and one from Ukraine), is an unexpected move, apparently intended as a return to Richardson’s blues roots.

This is a thick sonic soup made from roaring and squealing guitars (Justus West, Igor Osypov), bludgeoning drums (Ryan Lee), and humming, droning electric bass (DeAndre Manning). Deep within the murky mix, Richardson’s alto wails, its piercing treble not always distinguishable from the keening of the guitars. In its rhythmic repetitions, its thunderous sonorities, and especially its grandiosity, this music has more in common with shred-guitar rock than jazz or blues.

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