Jon Irabagon: Charles Barkley
Jon Irabagon (alto sax)
Outright! (Innova 699)
Jon Irabagon (alto sax),
Russ Johnson (trumpet), Kris Davis (piano), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Jeff Davis (drums).
Recorded: Brooklyn, March 2, 2007
Rating: 87/100 (learn more)
Charles Barkley was not only a great basketball player, but a popular interview subject too -- mostly because of his tendency to spout off frank and surprising things in front of a microphone. The same is true of Jon Irabagon's ensemble on this track named in Sir Charles's honor. The sound palette shifts unexpectedly at several junctures during the course of a 12-minute track. Sometimes the separate musical voices play at cross purposes, and at other moments they join together for dramatic composed passages. For most of the track, the band members maintain their allegiance to the Free Jazz aesthetic, but toward the end they offer up the biggest surprise of all: cool, steady swing in 4/4 time. This track is not for the fainthearted, but check it out if you are in the mood for some ear-stretching experiences.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia