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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Michael Adkins Quartet - Rotator (Hatology, 2008) ****

This is the second album by tenor saxophonist Michael Adkins and it is a winner. Accompanied by stellar musicians as Russ Lossing on piano, John Hebert on bass and Paul Motian on drums, the quartet brings very intimate structured post-bop improvisations. Apart from the compositions which seem to hesitate between tradition and novelty, and apart from the high quality improvisations you can expect from such a band, Adkins' tenor itself is the great joy of this album. He has a very traditional tone, going back to the late 50s, sounding like Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins even, full, warm, and eloquent, creating an intimacy which brings you back to the sentiments of dark bars on desolate evenings, where the only hope of any human warmth can come from the deep musical voice of this tenor, so recognizable, so true in its emotions, so rich in its subtleties and phrasings, that your spirits will be lifted again ... And yet it is not all mood, the music is also about form, about rhythm and interaction, and with these four musicians it all seem to happen just by itself, without any effort. A little too sweet to my taste at times, but a great album by objective criteria.

© stef