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Escape from New York by Zaid Nasser

Escape from New York is the long awaited recording debut for alto saxophonist Zaid Nasser. Nasser, the son of legendary bassist Jamil Nasser, has been churning out his signature brand of high energy bebop for some twenty years, yet has not, until now, had the opportunity to record as a leader. This stellar, straight-ahead session finds Nasser in the company of pianist Sacha Perry, bassist Ari Roland and drummer Phil Stewart.

There’s an infectious allure to Nasser’s tenacious approach. With a growling tone, the saxophonist turns out whirlwind lines that are seemingly endless and ripe with passion. While his influences are clearly steeped in the bebop tradition, Nasser is by no means a throwback to a bygone era. Although only in his thirties, the New York native embodies decades of jazz development into each solo while simultaneously looking forward to unexplored potential. With so much inspired playing it’s difficult to pick out disc highlights, however, Nasser’s solo on the "Cherokee" based barn-burner "Escalating" stands out as astonishing.

Nasser’s sympathetic band-mates are featured prominently throughout the disc. Roland, a solid bassist, solos with grace and dexterity in the tradition of Paul Chambers. His lyrical bowing on "Junior’s Soul," Nasser’s up-tempo adaptation of "Body and Soul" is jaw-dropping. Perry demonstrates tireless comping and lively soloing, especially on his own tune "Make a Move." Stewart keeps things moving with crisp cymbal work and impeccable time.

Finally, the jazz world has the opportunity to catch up to a major talent who has been flying under the radar for far too long. Escape from New York is an intriguing and significant release.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Zaid Nasser
  • CD Title: Escape from New York
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Smalls Records
  • Tracks: Warm Valley, Junior’s Soul, Make a Move, Sophisticated Lady, Escape from New York, Chinatown My Chinatown, Escalating
  • Musicians: Zaid Nasser (alto saxophone), Sacha Perry (piano), Ari Roland (bass), Phil Stewart (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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