Noah Preminger has, since the mid-00s, amassed a baker’s dozen of fantastic recordings as a leader, also popping in to be sideman to the likes of Rob Garcia, Julian Shore and Dan Cray. He learned from one of the masters – Dave Liebman – but even if that’s any leg up his total command of the saxophone gives the feeling you’re listening to an old hand, a veteran. Preminger is in fact in his mid-30s and through working with masterful players (Ben Monder, Matt Wilson) and sitting in with some of the absolute greats of the form (Dave Holland, Roscoe Mitchell, Eddie Henderson, Dave Douglas) he has built his skills and always leads one hell of a kick-ass group.
Never more so though than right here on his latest – featuring Kim Cass (bass), Max Light (guitar) and Dan Weiss (drums). It’s a dream team and this is stunning small combo jazz. It plays out like a pure bop-fest (The Late 90s) with balladry providing the necessary breathing space – for the audience at least (Kamaguchi).
What’s super impressive about this album – apart from the heft of mostly original tunes and the star-power of the talent – is the interplay. No one is trying to be the hero. No one person is rightly the star. Well, of course it’s Preminger out in front – but you hear equally impressive solos from Light and both Cass and Weiss are creative and exciting players that know exactly when to sit back and support but will never shy from a chance to add their own dazzle.
The title track is full of busy playing from all but it never sounds messy. And when Preminger steps out to go Full Coltrane he knows he has his band’s full backing (in both senses of the word).
Closer, Promises Kept, is from the pen of the great guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Preminger shakes it all loose to begin with but there’s a deep, meditative solo from Cass which resets the piece ahead of the final saxophone onslaught.
Geez, but this is just a fucking stunner of a jazz record. Get on board. Now!
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