Loren Stillman: Man of Mystery


Man of Mystery


Loren Stillman (alto sax)


Winter Fruits (Pirouet 3042)

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Loren Stillman (alto sax), Nate Radley (guitar), Gary Versace (organ), Ted Poor (drums).

Composed by Loren Stillman


Recorded: New Jersey, June 4-5, 2008


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

In the hands of Loren Stillman, jazz is an austere art. His music is purged of licks and thrives in a funk-free zone. Melodic lines from various members of the band meet and participate in an uneasy dance, but never embrace. Phrases are angular and prefer to ask questions rather than resolve them. Instead of navigating through chord changes, the band delivers a shifting array of textures. The musicians sometimes hint coyly at a pulse, but like a prim first date, won't let you feel it for a more than a moment. Stillman doesn't look to his bandmates for support, but rather as a maze through which he works his own intricate path. His labyrinthine solo is the highlight here. No, you won't hear this music on the smooth jazz station, and maybe not on any radio station at all. But Stillman has his own voice on the alto, and in an era of tribute albums and imitators, his daring attitudes are a brisk rebuttal to the status quo.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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