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By Uri Hornstein
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Noah Howard Quartet – Live At The Unity Temple (1997/2000)

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A Darker Shade Of Blue

Recorded in concert at the Unity Temple, Chicago, Illinois, September 9, 1997.
1997 recording/2000 release Ayler records aylCD-001
Cover painting (Hommage a Albert Ayler) by Ake Bjurhamn

A strong live set recorded at the Unity Temple near Chicago, this performance was released on the adventurous Swedish label, Ayler Records, as a precursor to saxophonist Noah Howard’s first tour of Sweden. Working with pianist Bobby Few, bassist Wilber Morris, and drummer Calyer Duncan, Howard leads his tight and exciting quartet through five original compositions, some, such as “The Blessing” and “Schizophrenic Blues,” very much identified with the saxophonist. Howard’s playing is crisp, melodic, and clear, a tad less intense than decades past, but nonetheless compelling. His alto retains the mournful wail of Ornette, but with a distinct identity. In an interesting twist, Howard blows on tenor sax on “Lightning Rod. Part 1″ with the same power and forcefulness, but with a naturally deeper and more gutsy tone. Somehow, he seems less restrained on tenor, perhaps not as concerned with tone and more with pure energy.

(Review by Steven Loewy)

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Uri Hornstein

Read more at A Darker Shade Of Blue


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