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JAZZ

Marty Ehrlich, Pliant Plaint (Enja 5065, all formats). A tremendous record. Ehrlich is the saxophone player in the New York band of locally born and bred composer-drummer Bobby Previte. Previte's bunch being very much a musical collective, Previte returned the favor by playing on this imposing pianoless post-Coltrane quartet. Saxophonists Ehrlich and Steve Strickland solo passionately out of a tight braid of contrapuntal lines while bassist Anthony Cox keeps a sonorous third line going over some of Previte's loosest and least programmatic drumming on record. Coolness and a tyrannizing irony are omnipresent dangers in the terminally wised-up music of Previte and Friends (Wayne Horvitz, John Zorn, et. al.) but there's none of that here. It's as strong and fresh and crisp and cleanly articulate as any jazz coming from their powerhouse generation. And that's really saying something. -- Jeff Simon

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