Buffalo Jazz Octet, "Pausa Live" (Cadence Jazz)
This music was recorded live last May in Pausa Art House (19 Wadsworth St.) and it is often close to sensational.
The cream of ambitious local jazz musicians appear here: alto and tenor saxophonist Kelly Bucheger (whose group is called "What Would Mingus Do?"), tenor and soprano player Nelson Rivera, baritone saxophonist Steve Baczkowski, trumpet player Tim Clarke, trombonist Phil Sims, pianist Michael McNeill, bassist Brian DeJesus and drummer John Bacon. Brendan Fitzgerald conducts.
All you have to hear is the first three minutes of John Bacon's opening composition "Sculptured" and you know you're hearing music that knows its Mingus, its Sun Ra and its AACM too.
The dissonant counterpoint swings like mad. Tim Clarke follows with a trumpet soliloquy preceding more exquisite counterpoint in a piece by conductor Brendan Fitzgerald. Michael McNeill's "Second the Motian" is obviously a tribute to the great drummer Paul Motian, who invented a whole different way of being a free drummer in jazz with pianist Bill Evans.
What John Bacon does with baritone saxophonist Steve Baczkowski couldn't possibly resemble that less. Same with Clarke's duet with pianist McNeill. It's as merrily Sun Ra as you can get.
If you've been waiting for the perfect disc recorded here with which to get acquainted with some of the most forward thinking and individualistic members of Buffalo's jazz community, your time has arrived. This is it. It's terrific.
3.5 stars (out of four)