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Ralph Bowen: Total Eclipse

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Ralph Bowen plays a pure strain of postmodern tenor saxophone. He is hugely proficient technically and consistently spills his guts. Take “Into the City.” Its quick, jagged, asymmetrical head is like a call to arms. Bowen builds from a few repeated adjacent tones to long convoluted lines that sound like onslaughts until you hear that they are actually sets of subtle variations (if in-your-face tenor can be subtle).

It follows that he makes good records. His three most recent, Power Play , Due Reverence and Dedicated , all on Posi-Tone, were aesthetic undertakings as tenor saxophone clinics. Total Eclipse might be his best yet. It has Bowen’s hottest band ever.

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