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Marty Ehrlich’s Rites Quartet: Frog Leg Logic

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Marty Ehrlich is a uniquely erudite, civilized outcat. Like outcats everywhere, he slashes and burns and lives on the edge. But his jagged abstractions and flaming trajectories take place within carefully organized forms. The opening title track, a crashing anthem, makes you think of Ornette Coleman’s quartets with Don Cherry. Ehrlich’s shrill, swooping alto saxophone and James Zollar’s tart, brash trumpet duel like musical fighter planes, high in the sky. Beneath them, cellist Hank Roberts and drummer Michael Sarin churn and plunge.

But in Ehrlich’s quartet, trilling effusions from the leader and spattering tantrums from Zollar make way for planned thematic recurrences and transitional riffs. Events are timed. Sarin’s explosive drum solo arrives on schedule.

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