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With I Will Follow You (Bee Jazz), French-born, Brooklyn-based tenor and soprano saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh brings his singular vision to the fertile ground of improvised music. Bolstered by the broad color palate of virtuosic guitarist and longtime collaborator Ben Monder, and the masterful rhythmic orchestration of legendary drummer Daniel Humair, Sabbagh’s lyricism and glowing sound serve as beacons in an improvised journey at once hauntingly beautiful and aggressively unhinged.
Taking advantage of the adventurous setting of a trio without a bass, the players’ seamless interaction makes it impossible to discern who’s leading from who’s following, as they shepherd the listener through an ever-changing tapestry of sound. “Without a bass player, there’s less of a desire to go into time,” says Sabbagh “and it opens up new textural possibilities.”
Despite the constant risk taking – or perhaps because of it, the music is always compelling. “There’s this cliché that improvised music is hard to listen to,” Sabbagh notes. “Maybe I’m an idealist, but I find the best improvised music has a directness of expression that immediately draws the listener in.”
I Will Follow You follows three critically acclaimed efforts as a leader. North (voted Best CD of 2005 by the readers of French monthly magazine Jazzman) and Pogo (four stars in DownBeat) both feature Sabbagh’s uncanny, song-like compositions and lush tone, in a quartet that includes Monder, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Ted Poor. One Two Three (four stars in DownBeat), an album of standards played in the totemic sax-bass-drums instrumentation pioneered by Sonny Rollins, features bassist Ben Street and drummer Rodney Green. I Will Follow You represents a bold departure from the more controlled settings of these albums, yet retains the lyricism, clarity of purpose, and melodic flair that are the hallmarks of the saxophonist’s style.
I Will Follow You is yet another exciting example of Sabbagh’s musicianship, integrity and artistic vision.
|1. I Will Follow You|
|3. The Clown|
|5. Come With Me|
|7. La Fee Morgane|
|12. We Play, Then You Play|
|13. I Should Care|
|14. The Clown (alternate take)|