Album: Ron Blake, Shayari (Mack Avenue)

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The Independent Culture

Anyone looking for a new US tenor sax hero should check out the buttery tone and unusually sensitive aesthetic of Blake, whose third album for the label adopts a partial chamber-jazz style in duos and trios anchored by producer Michael Cain, who plays piano throughout. The Pharaoh-ish flutter that leads into the beautiful "Waltz for Gwen" creates one of the most striking openings in years, but while there's a number of similarly poised songs, including a bluesy "Of Kindred Souls" with Regina Carter on violin, too many by-rote blows make a long album longer still.

Download this: The impassioned yet controlled 'Waltz for Gwen' sums it up

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