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Elias Haslanger Reviewed

Dream Story (Cherrywood)

Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Oct. 6, 2006

Elias Haslanger Reviewed

Elias Haslanger

Dream Story (Cherrywood)

In the late Nineties, the wind fell out of Austin jazz sails when Elias Haslanger moved to Brooklyn. The lyrical tenor saxophonist and composer also led an exceptional band, captured on 1998's popular and critically acclaimed Kicks Are for Kids (Heart). The Austin product's new outfit, including his former quartet's timekeeper J.J. Johnson, isn't as developed as his earlier group, but it offers up a distinguished selection of post-bop, acoustic jazz on Dream Story. Pulling in the MVP award on Haslanger's fourth album is his pen. The 10 compositions blend Haslanger's educational theory with an honest love of the jazz pantheon, his performative skills honed by playing with Chucho Valdés, Ellis Marsalis, and Dizzy Gillespie. Haslanger's jazz is both modern, drawing from funk and blues cadences ("Street Beat," "Watch Your Step"), and traditional, informed by the idiom's history, including Wayne Shorter and Miles Davis. Opener "Eternal & Absolute" also demonstrates a deep knowledge of Coltrane's soprano sax work. Welcome back Eli, travel all you want. Just don't leave again.

***.5

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