John Wojciechowski

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Sean J. O'Connell, Downbeat

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This date by saxophonist John Wojciechowski hangs in a tight classic '60s quartet formation, brimming with full-bodied horn work and assertive percussion. The leader penned seven of the 10 tunes and brought along three different horns to blow his way through them.

The album highlight is "Summon The Elders," an explosive statement full of dramatic entrances and freight-train drums honoring the muscle of trailblazers like John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner. Ushered in by an ominous two-minute drum solo, the band shows off their confident command.

Pianist Ryan Cohan straddles sparkles and explosions, piercing the upper range of the keyboard and rolling his octaves with frenetic abandon. Wojciechowski makes a grand entrance, aggressively fluttering his way into the spotlight at top speed. As drummer Dana Hall crashes relentlessly behind him, the saxophonist is raw and full of irrepressible confidence, stretching out on the lengthy performance.

The soprano saxophone gets to shine on the track immediately following but strays away from the Coltrane sound and into a reedier, more contemporary territory favored by soprano wizard Branford Marsalis.

The rhythm section retains their propulsion and Wojciechowski has no shortage of ideas, building an intricate formation over the swirling tune. The alto saxophone finally comes out for
Thelonious Monk's "Evidence."

Hall and Wojciechowski trade punches early in this fast-paced rendition, with Hall displaying a four-limbed dexterity and the saxophonist weaving a punctual message. Regardless of register, Wojciechowski is brawny and unafraid to dig in, and his rhythm section is happy to knock down any obstacles that stand in his way.






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