by Tom Haugen
Deviate From Standards
The saxophonist, composer and educator David Larsen already released The Mulligan Chronicles this year, and here he returns with 9 originals that were penned over the last 4 years, and he’s got Greg Yasinitsky (tenor, baritone saxophone) and Ken Pelowski (clarinet), as well as several others for the diverse jazz outing.
“A New Thing Coming’” starts the listen with a bouncy, upbeat appeal as Josh Skinner’s bass and Kate Skinner’s keys add much melody to the brass driven opener, and “Smoke Screen” follows with Danny McCollim’s key acrobatics and Nick Isherwood’s strategic bass playing complementing the swift, infectious brass.
In the middle, “Family” flows with a sublime and soothing quality that recruits all the hallmarks of jazz that will always be enjoyable, while “He Who Getz The Last Laugh” bounces and bops with a charming swing climate. “Into The Light”, one of the album’s best, then showcases Larsen’s incredible sax playing amid warm keys and frisky drumming thanks to Brendan McMurphy.
“Into The Mild” and “Tensai” exit the listen, where the former embraces plenty of rhythm and melody from the esteemed players, and the latter is a superbly textured affair that finishes on a very high note of dynamic modern jazz.
With live music not existing during much of the pandemic, Larsen channeled that desire to play live into making these songs, and it results in yet another top notch jazz listen in his rapidly expanding catalog.