The Fringe: The Response
Live In Israel (Soul Note 121305)
George Garzone (tenor sax),
John Lockwood (bass), Bob Gullotti (drums).
Composed by The Fringe.
Recorded: Eilat, Israel, August 30, 1995
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
When asked once how it felt to be the world's greatest jazz saxophonist, the late Michael Brecker said, "I wouldn't know. Go ask George Garzone." An educator at Berklee by day, Garzone is surprisingly unknown to even some serious jazz fanatics. One listen to this track and you'll never forget his name. His trio, The Fringe, has been performing for 36—yes, 36—years. Garzone and drummer Gullotti have been members since the group's conception, and Lockwood replaced original bassist Richard Appleman in 1985. "The Response" is solidly based in bop, though harmony and rhythm are loosely defined. The conversational interaction between Garzone and Gullotti may be the finest example of telepathy from a saxophone/drum duo since Coltrane and Jones.
Garzone perfectly balances and complements the "in"—linear, melodic phrases—with the "out"—bursts of controlled explosiveness (masterfully exemplified in his passage from 1:46 through 2:21). Although obsessively passionate, Garzone's playing is never self-absorbed or overblown by his own enthusiasm. Unlike most free tenormen, he does not resort to abrasive screaming or squawking, instead effortlessly using the entire range of his horn from honking lows to beautifully controlled falsetto. Praise for Garzone is limitless, and though the phrase is tossed around all too often, he truly is one of the seriously under- appreciated jazz masters of his time.
Reviewer: Matt Leskovic