Fred Lipsius: Better Believe It

Although portrayed on his album cover as a guy you’d more likely see on a golf course than in a jazz club, saxophonist Fred Lipsius proves an excellent musician with strong instincts and first-class support throughout Better Believe It (MJA CDMJA510; 56:08). His tunes are, for the most part, tight and bright, marked by sharp, brass-attack laden arrangements. “Trippin on the Stars,” for example, is an exciting exercise in timing and execution, keyed by the spaces between horn hits. Lipsius is at his best supporting economical melodies like “That Inside Feeling,” and “Halfway,” which blazes along, again emphasizing that old-fashioned live brass sound. There are occasional stumbles when he tries too hard, as on the synthy “Lost in the Rapture” and the slightly lethargic “Summer Bounce,” which sounds a bit like “Breezin'” played on the wrong speed-but when Lipsius sticks to his strengths, the result is strong and interesting.