Album: Gerard McChrystal, Aria (First Hand Recordings)

 

It's arguable whether the saxophone's particular qualities are better employed serving the dynamic freedoms of jazz than the tonal rigours of classical music, but McChrystal here makes a good case for classical composers to write more for the instrument.

The 17 pieces range widely in time, from a Handel's "Largo" on which the stately soprano sax line is cushioned by string ensemble, to modern compositions by Nyman, Glass, McGlynn and Tanaka – for whose "Night Bird" McChrystal conveys the absorbing, crepuscular mood of a duduk recital by Djivan Gasparyan. Elsewhere, the lilting calm of Fauré's "Les berceaux" and the enigmatic yearning of Debussy's "Syrinx" adapt beautifully to the saxophone, while Glass's haunting "Façades" already has the standing of a standard.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Largo; Façades; Night Bird; Syrinx; Les berceaux

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