Émile Parisien’s soprano sax is the standout on this diverse and inventive set, which blends kora with Anatolian shindigs, klezmer with agile accordion
When the light from one of the most ethereally spellbinding stars in the jazz firmament flickered out with the death of Wayne Shorter at 89 this month, the great improviser and composer left a multiplicity of ways to remember him. A tersely powerful tenor saxophonist, Shorter, like his mentor John Coltrane, cultivated a contrastingly pensive, vulnerable, and even unsentimentally romantic persona with the delicately oboe-like and tonally temperamental soprano sax.
That fickle instrument, pioneered and almost exclusively played from the 1920s to the 50s in voice-like, vibrato-trembling tones by the New Orleans genius Sidney Bechet, was otherwise largely neglected in jazz until Dixielander turned trailblazer Steve Lacy’s postwar partnerships with Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk, and Coltrane’s My Favourite Things in 1961.
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