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From the liner notes of Forget All That and Just Wail, new music compiled by Ross Simonini for the 2013 music issue:

Colin Stetson, “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man”

The sax will always be jazz. Even if the 1980s borrowed the instrument for the occasional ersatz guitar solo, it still produces the timbre of America’s only original art form. The alto sax is the sound of Charlie Parker and the tenor is Coltrane (or Lester Young, depending on your age and style), but the baritone, which is what Stetson plays, is not yet owned. The great Gerry Mulligan springs to mind as the undeniable bari sax player, but Stetson isn’t playing anything close to Mulligan’s crooning, mellow tones. Stetson yanks out the wail and crack of the horn, harnesses its intensity, and has a sensibility that seems as much about texture as it is about shredding. He’s both minimalist and maximalist, so he isn’t either, and he doesn’t seem to be improvising (like Mulligan once did) but playing a long, fixed, multivoiced melody with all the shape and arc of a Bach toccata.


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