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Nick Bisesi: Gemini

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Listening to Nick Bisesi’s second recording as a leader, one would hardly suspect that the saxophonist recently switched to tenor after years as an altoist. He sounds every bit the seasoned tenorman, with a tone, mannerisms and overall conception that evoke aural images of, say, Michael Brecker and other post-Coltrane tenorists. But his polished sound and technique, combined with a fine ear and a lively imagination, make him a formidable player in his own right.

Except for the standard “I Remember You,” Bisesi also “wrote” all the compositions on the album except “A Short Visit,” which evolved as a collective free improvisation. In spite of that track’s free construction, however, it and its companions exhibit mostly postbop concepts of melody and rhythm, as do the excellent improvisations by the leader and the other frontline soloist, Neal Alger, who varies his guitar sound from acoustic to electric to electronic tastefully. Alger is especially effective in his duo interplay with the tenorist on “I Remember You.” Bassist Patrick Williams and drummer Eric Montzka meld with Alger to function as a well-integrated rhythm section that displays an acute sense of the requirements of this highly stimulating and satisfying music.