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Ken Field — Under the Skin
(Innova 208, 2006, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01

Under the Skin Cover artWe all know saxophonist Field from his many years with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, and of late, his Revolutionary Snake Ensemble also. His solo albums tend to be lesser known, perhaps because they are often commissioned works for dance, without the wide distribution afforded his band releases. They are nonetheless excellent and equally adventurous, as Under the Skin will immediately testify to; it was created as the soundtrack for a multimedia and dance presentation of the same name by choreographers Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer. The eight pieces herein rock, swing and groove their way along playfully using multilayered saxophone embellishments, the different melodic parts crossing, overlapping, and complementing one another. The interesting thing is that it's all done with alto sax exclusively, using numerous overdubs (these ears can count as many as eight parts on some of the numbers). The compositions move along joyously, informed by jazz, lively funk, classical, and tasty grooves, driving sublime melodies and infectious rhythms. All of these are certain to get the feet moving — this be after all music for dance, so a strong rhythmic current underscores everything. Field is joined by bassist Jesse Williams and drummer Phil Neighbors on most of the pieces. The only minus is it's all over in only 25 minutes; I guess that's all the music they needed for the production. As they say, it's not the quantity but the quality, and this is certainly one where every minute counts.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Ken Field

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