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Stan Killian: Brooklyn Calling (Sunnyside)

A review of the tenor saxophonist's quartet album

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Stan Killian: Brooklyn Calling (Sunnyside)
The cover of Brooklyn Calling by Stan Killian

Figure guitar-playing newcomer (to this band) Paul Bollenbeck as the most common provocateur to the leader. Over seven tunes swinging as a suite, Bollenbeck first scintillates with enigmatic suction sounds behind Killian’s tenor. Elsewhere he chimes as a mellow bell, cushion for Killian’s rides into the higher (though not altissimo) ranges. Produced by Killian himself, the set plays out, especially through headphones, as the four fellows hiding behind each other, then spinning peeks out from the common column into their artistry. I always say I’ll fixate only on Bollenbeck, or Killian, then I’m stuck following bassist Corcoran Holt’s smooth booming, or drummer McClenty Hunter’s supple stick work, dry jokes sparking through cymbals.

Killian, originally from Texas and gigging as a teen with his dad (keyboardist Joe Killian), made NYC his home about a decade ago. He heard Bollenbeck ages back in Joey DeFrancesco’s band, and the two do that simpatico like they were born never to be apart. The virus did what the virus did to the rest of the country (world), but after a hike to Buffalo, the saxophonist came back to what and where he knew for jam sessions at Ridgewood, Queens, attended by like-minded folks from Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The leader understands dynamics as an oft-neglected fourth dimension (after tone, structure, and harmony), so when “Shibuya Crossing” roams across its seven-plus minutes, you hear wild-eyed declaiming cheek-to-tongue with softer inclinations resembling human speech. Holt breaks out the bow for “Concept of Peace,” Bollenbeck chiming in choice comments of awe. Teamwork, once again, a testimony to a total.

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