DMG Newsletter for December 10th, 2021

TONY MALABY’S SABINO with BEN MONDER / MICHAEL FORMANEK / TOM RAINEY – The Cave of Winds (Pyroclastic PR18; USA) Featuring Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxes & compositions, Ben Monder on guitar, Michael Formanek on contrabass and Tom Rainey on drums. It’s been twenty years since the first disc by Tony Malaby’s Sabino was released in October of 2000. The original quartet had Marc Ducret on guitar, a French musician who rarely makes it to NYC. In-demand guitar-ace, Ben Monder, has been collaborating with Tony Malaby for several years, most recently in a trio with Tom Rainey (released earlier this year (2021). The rhythm team here, Michael Formanek & Tom Rainey used to work with Tim Berne previously in a trio called Paraphrase.
Unlike most jazz guitarists who prefer a thinner tone with minimal effects, Ben Monder has a thicker, rockish sustained tone which is closer to the sound and range of Malaby’s tenor sax. The tenor sax and guitar often sound like they are shadowing each other perhaps with the guitar a bit slower in the attack. “Recrudescence” laid back, more somber and spacious. For the title track, the quartet slows down even more for a more haunting dream-like vibe. It feels like we are going back in time to a place where slow down to a most relaxed pace. Malaby switches to soprano for the last piece, “Just Me, Just Me”, the tempo sped up with Monder taking a strong, dark, turbulent solo with Malaby following in a similar stream. Each piece here creates a mood which changes the way we feel as it unfolds. Although it sounds like we are being told stories during the solos, it is overall mood which is most effective here. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

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