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Remy Le Boeuf: Light as a Word (Le Boeuf)

A review of the alto saxophonist's debut album as a leader

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Remy Le Boeuf, Light as a Word
The cover of Light as a Word by Remy Le Boeuf

For Remy Le Boeuf’s debut as a leader, after four well-received recordings with identical twin brother Pascal, the alto saxophonist fronts a tight-knit ensemble for a set of originals that are uniformly resonant and appealingly rangy. The group comfortably occupies diverse terrain: the soaring melodies, flickering rhythms, and vaguely Americana-ish strains of “Mirrors in Your Eyes” as well as the delicacy of “Union,” a ballad penned for his sister’s wedding.

Le Boeuf’s explorations are ably abetted by second saxophonist Walter Smith III on tenor, a dynamic rhythm section—regular collaborators Matt Brewer on bass and Peter Kronreif on drums, plus pianist Aaron Parks—and, on two tracks, guitarist Charles Altura. The latter shines particularly with a bracing extended improvisation on “Imperfect Paradise,” a color-shifting fusion piece undergirded by Fender Rhodes.

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Philip Booth

Philip Booth is a longtime arts journalist and bass player based in Florida. Formerly the pop music critic for the Tampa Tribune, he has contributed to many national publications, recently including the Washington PostJazziz, and Relix. His byline also has appeared in DownBeat, Bass Player, Billboard, Variety, Spin, Rolling Stone, and several academic journals. The debut CD from his band, Acme Jazz Garage, gained airplay on about 35 radio stations across the US.