Montreal saxophonist Charles Papasoff's first album as a leader and the 1st release on the Red Toucan label, presenting Papasoff solo, and in a quartet with trumpeter Baikida Carroll, bassist Santi Debriano, and drummer Pheeroan Aklaff.
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Label: Red Toucan
Catalog ID: RT 9301-2
Squidco Product Code: 18044
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded live on March 3rd, 1993 at Studio Inter-Session, Laval, Quebec by Gilles Collin.
Charles Papasoff-baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
Baikida Carroll-trumpet, flugelhorn
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1. You Can't Escape Your Destiny 5:15
2. Left Jab 7:22
3. Our Thing 6:45
4. Ti-Paul 5:29
5. Serious 10:35
6. Variations Sur Le Lac De La Lune 9:16
7. Fruit Loops 4:26
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"Of all instruments in use today, the saxophone has virtually become synonymous with the jazz idiom.
Over the music's short but compressed history, that horn has been better represented in that genre than any other one. It has spawned great masters of the alto and tenor not to mention the incredible number of stylists and imitators influenced by these major figures. Even the soprano, once maligned for its tuning problems, has become every reedman's doubling instrument nowadays. But the story changes when it comes to the weighty baritone.
Sure, it too has had its share of leaders, be they Harry Carney, Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams or more contemporary players like John Surman and Harriet Bluiett, but any jazz fan will be somewhat hard-pressed to rattle off as long a list of these hornmen as that of their alto and tenor counterparts. Given their smaller numbers, these specialists of the big horn may also have the advantage of a wider field to play in, less cluttered than the one which other saxmen have to contend with.
And when it comes to getting around on that axe, Charles Papasoff knows how to swing it with the best of them. An ebullient player with a razor sharp sound, he can cut through with his explosive turns of phrase. He has been honing his craft for 20 years on that horn, paying his dues on the Montreal scene, both in local jazz groups and numerous commercial bands backing pop singers. Stylistically, his angular playing conjures the spirit of the late Pepper Adams, with whom PAPASOFF studied informally, though his altissimo playing stems from John Burman's mastery, not to mention some of Harriet Bluiett's bravado thrown in for good measure.
For this, his first and long overdue debut as a leader, lady luck has finally given him the chance to play with a threesome of stellar New York performers. More active as a composer now, trumpeter Baikida Carroll makes one of his rare recording appearances in this churning free bop outing. Behind them, it's hard to go wrong with the double-barrelled rhythm team of Santi Debriano on bass and Pheeroan akLaff on drums. From the first downbeat to the last cymbal splash, all four men rise to the occasion, everyone pitching in a tune of his own along the way.
After the philosophical musing entitled "You can't escape your destiny", the band comes in with a "Left jab" that sets the tone for the quartet part of this disc. But the ringer here is the Debriano opus "Our Thing" which might innocuously start on a calypso-like beat, but rapidly develops into a no-holds barred melee for the horns.After a lyrical "T-Paul", a PAPASOFF dedication to an elderly gentleman's triumph over illiteracy, the band moves swiftly through the drummer's "Serious", heard on his own band's release, a title which reflects the level of blowing, one might say.
"Variations sur le lac de la tune", a duet with pianist Jean Beaudet, and "Fruit loops", a layered solo track by PAPASOFF himself, complete the set. These pieces allow him to showcase his flute handling, his sinewy baritone playing as well as those wafting tones of his soprano (yes, he too is another doubter on the smaller horn, and a fluent one at that).
A gritty improviser, Charles Papasoff is now poised to move up from his local status to that of TDWR (as noted in a Down Beat Critic's Poll). In fact, as of this writing, he is about to travel to Switzerland as an invited guest of the Big Band de Lausanne, with a recording date lined up during his stay. In the meantime, this recording marks an auspicious beginning, on a road that will hopefully lead to other stimulating ventures. In the open spaces of baritone country, here is one man capable of covering all terrains at will !!"-Marc Chénard
• Show Bio for Pheeroan akLaff
"Pheeroan akLaff was born in Detroit, Michigan January 27, 1955, and named Paul, by his parents in honor of Paul Robeson one of their favorite musicians. Though his parents did not play instruments they enjoyed dancing with the Lunceford, Basie, Eckstein, and Ellington bands. His mother, distantly related to Wings Over Jordan choir director Glenn T. Settlle, was a fan of classical repertoire. His father is a Jazz fan and audiophile. This spawned a musical household in which all seven children had music lessons at some stage of their development. Eric, the eldest became a concert pianist and choir conductor.
Largely an autodidact, with some years at Eastern Michigan University, Pheeroan studied privately with Randall Hicks (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra), and "Pistol" Allen (Motown). Working in ensembles led by arranger Travis Biggs, at EMU brought about his first recording date; a 45rpm for local R&B singer Major Lasky titled Remember Me Always (1973), a favorite of radio station WGPR.
In 1975 he relocated to New Haven Connecticut, and while auditing the African Art class of Robert Ferris Thompson, akLaff established a connection with Rashied Ali, drummer of John Coltrane's late ensembles. While kindlling the band DejaVu with his peers, he also initiated a tenure with Wadada Leo Smith,introducing him to performances and recordings with Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Sonny Sharrock, Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Yamashita Yosuke, Amiri Baraka, Liu Sola, Tom Pierson, and Anthony Braxton, among many internationally acclaimed composers.
As a young artist Pheeroan akLaff toured several countries of Africa, Asia and Europe. He produced a wave of Funk and Reggae influenced performances and recordings in the 1980's. after his Urban West African music immersion in Abidjan, Cote D"Ivoire with the Marie Rose Guiraud dance troupe. He met Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sonny Okosun, and Steve Rhodes with scholar Dr. Frank T. Fairfax III, in Lagos Nigeria. He performed for the U.S. State Department with Oliver Lake and Jump Up; in Malawi, Swaziland, Cote D'Ivoire Togo and Liberia, and with Jay Hoggard; in Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Egypt and India.
In the 1990's he presented his music ensembles at the Willisau festival of Switzerland, the Sju festival of the Netherlands, the Montsalvat festival of Australia, the Moers, and the Nurnberg festivals of Germany. He also led the Double Duo ensemble with two saxophonists; Mixashawn and Ravi Coltrane, and with two drummers; akLaff and his mentor Rashied Ali.
Pheeroan akLaff believes that the arts are a way to give thanks, and to work for change. His non-profit organization Seed Artists encorages education, mentorship and enlightenment through selective arts presentations. With Creative Director Chris Napierala he has recently presented music festivals and symposiums at William Patterson University, and Montclair State University, childrens writing workshops and community concerts at The Montclair Public Library, and community concerts at local galleries. In 2016- 2017 he will serve as curator at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning in Queens, NY.
Since 1991. Mr.akLaff has taught drums and creative music to University students at New School University in New York, and at Wesleyan University in Connecticut."-Pheeroan akLaff Website (https://www.pheeroanaklaff.com/biography)
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