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Christian Vander Quartet — Au Sunset
(Seventh Records A XXVIII, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01

Au Sunset Cover art

The setting is the Sunset Jazz Club, and the date is early January of 1999. The crowd is busy chatting while the quartet eases into John Coltrane’s “Brazilia.” The tenor player launches into a probing solo that reflects the influence of the tune’s composer and occasionally strays into avant-garde territory. The intense drummer looks strangely familiar as he pummels his toms and pushes the other players into orbit. By the time the band unleashes an incendiary version of “Impressions” the audience is completely captivated and applauding wildly. A lovely version of “Naima” follows, providing a much-needed break from the intensity. The band is sweaty, the club is smoky, and the music is on another plane. The spirit of Coltrane’s quartet is evoked as the band plays four of his compositions in over an hour. The solos are long, unfolding, and fully realized. The tenor player ventures well outside the harmonic structures at times true to the spirit of the quartet’s inspiration. The final tune is written by the drummer, who by the way is named Vander. It starts out with a quick but quiet burn featuring a piano trio. The tenor then jumps in and elevates the proceedings. A great night in an intimate club with a sizzling jazz quartet. Makes you wish that you were there...

Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Christian Vander / Offering, Emmanuel Borghi

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