Jan Garbarek Group Dresden

Jan Garbarek Group Dresden
A live two-disc set from saxist/composer Gabarek, Dresden contains both some gold and unremarkable tracks. His Gato Barbieri-ish, keening tone and flawless execution make Norwegian Gabarek an arresting soloist. Case in point, the leader's "Maracujua" is a showstopper, combining Weather Report synth flourishes and folk music dance sections, finding the tenor sax in full cry, and ringer drummer Manu Katché in vibrant form, faultlessly moving from section to section with not so much as a single misstep. "Twelve Moons" features skittering soprano sax and its singing tone over a cinematically conceived arrangement with deft pianist Rainer Brüninghaus and supportive bassist Yuri Daniel. A couple of drawbacks are how Gabarek's soprano tone can meander into syrupy Kenny G territory and how, in general, the reedist can get waylaid by schmaltzy melodramatics. It's been too long since we've heard him blow jazz with the passionate abandon he did on Keith Jarrett's Nude Ants. Maybe he's overdue to revisit the realm of visceral blowouts. Just a suggestion. (ECM)