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Blais, Samuel/David Liebman: Cycling

Samuel Blais is a Canadian saxophonist/composer who studied under the tutelage of sax great David Liebman and also earned a Master's degree in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School Of Music in New York.

His third album Cycling was released in 2014. The musicians include Samuel Blais (alto, baritone and soprano sax), David Liebman (soprano and tenor sax), Morgan Moore (double bass) and Martin Auguste (drums).

As you can probably imagine this is sax dominated jazz and folks, the playing is fantastic. This is not an easy listening jazz album by any means as its complexity shines through on every track. The first track "Chli-Bli" is a prime example. Rich baritone sax and subtle cymbal taps converge into simultaneous saxophone lines attaining some pretty wild notes as the drumming becomes more heavy and intense. In "Sidonie" flutterings of almost dissonant sax take the song into experimental territory while the album ending "The Crusher" features sax, bass and drums perfectly locked into a groove where improvisation and the written form clash head on. Some of the saxophone lines are as 'out there' as this album gets.

My favourite tracks are the bluesy slow burners "Return to Napanoch" and "Taste of Honey" with the former featuring excellent stick work from Auguste, deep baritone wails from Blais and an excellent bass solo. In "Taste of Honey" the sax work from both musicians is simply outstanding.

While Cycling might not make for immediate ear candy, it is an album that could only be made by serious musicians who are masters of their craft. If you dig sax led jazz you will want to immerse yourself in all this album has to offer. Released on Effendi Records.

Track Listing:
1. Chli-Bli (5:04)
2. Sidonie (5:48)
3. Interludio Obscurio (3:17)
4. Et Voit le Jour (4:55)
5. Cycling (7:18)
6. Return to Napanoch (7:34)
7. Taste of Honey (10:07)
8. The Crusher (5:03)

Added: June 11th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 899
Language: english

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