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Jane Ira Bloom - Sixteen Sunsets / Jazz Police review

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On Steve Lacy's birthday day (July 23), it seems fitting to write a tribute to someone playing today who has set a new standard for this, one of the loveliest and mysterious of the family of saxophones. As with many musical details, most listeners have no idea how technically challenging this particular sax is, or how musicians spend countless hours on just the mouthpiece problem--how one can find the right one to avoid the harsh grittiness that can infest a player's sound. The problem goes back and forth from plastic mouthpieces that can warm the instrument to metal ones that give it power and presence.

Jane Ira Bloom (DownBeat Critics and Jazz Journalists Association Soprano Saxophonist of the Year for 2014) has solved this difficulty, given the sound of her Grammy-nominated recording Sixteen Sunsets (Best Surround Sound Album 2014); she has developed a unique sound on the instrument that manages to be warm and inviting, but still includes a bop attitude and melodic fluidity that dances through the twists and turns of harmony and expression. She does not succumb to sentiment, nor does she shy away from the highest notes, the most difficult to sustain and enunciate on this particular horn.  Rather, Sixteen Sunsets (Outline Music, 2013) creates a remarkable sense of rhythmic and melodic feel, and joyous celebration of love and loss. READ THE FULL Jazz Police REVIEW.