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Inner Flights by Benjamin Drazen

New York saxophonist Benjamin Drazen doesn't waste any time letting a listener know what his musical intent is all about. From the opening moments of Inner Flights, his debut release as a leader, the fiery alto and soprano saxophonist swings unrepentantly with blistering lines and a bold, Jackie McLean-inspired sounds. Along with a high-energy rhythm section, Drazen delivers a sturdy set of his straight-ahead originals and a couple of standards.

At ease with fast tempos, Drazen careens effortlessly through the opening "Mr. Twilight" and "This is New." The disc has a more reflective side, however, with the brooding "Prayer for Brothers Gone" and "Neeney's Waltz," showcasing the saxophonist's ability to shape ideas while still emphasizing bebop ornamentation. The Coltrane-leaning title track has a muscular, modal groove with Drazen going for broke on the soprano and pianist Jon Davis lending heavy-handed comping.

Davis proves an inventive soloist with a firm grasp of jazz piano history, as evidenced on "Monkish." Bassist Carlo De Rosa and drummer Eric McPherson keep things crisp and lively throughout. The two are let loose to explore on the mood shifting "Jazz Heaven."

As a composer and soloist, Drazen has a lot to offer. Inner Flights is an enticing look into his unique creativity.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Benjamin Drazen
  • CD Title: Inner Flights
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Posi-Tone
  • Rating: Four Stars
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