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Tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas is probably best known for playing in the jazz supergroup Riverside with trumpet star Dave Douglas and bass god Steve Swallow. But there are good reasons he keeps such heady company, and they’re on display on his latest leader LP You Can’t Take It With You.
The first is his tone – creamy, attractive and as supple as a yoga teacher. The way his horn navigates the angular blues of “Part of a Memory” is as much of an ear massage as the old school groove of “Twelve Foot Blues,” making the skronkiest of notes go down smoooooth. Another is his writing. Doxas explores several permutations of jazz here, from the back alley (“The Last Pier”) to the ballad (“All the Roads”) to the avant garde (Soapbox“), and always comes off as melodic and in the pocket.
The final reason is his ability to lead a band. He allows pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Thomas Morgan to bring their own distinctive talents to the fore – check Iverson’s work on “Up There in the Woods” and Morgan’s on “The Last Pier” – while still keeping them focused on achieving his vision. All of this is on display on the title track, which opens the album like a smiling face opening up a door to wonder. “Come on in,” it says. “Hang out and wander around for a while – you’ll surely find something to love.”
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