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This varied anthology of contemporary pieces is a typical Innova product - tangy, oxygen rich and kaleidoscopic.

Saxophonist Timothy McAllister has put together this chamber collection in collaboration with fellow musicians.

The flickering and tapping mechnical action of McAllister's instrument is something you must acclimatise yourself to. It's part of the music. It in fact seems to have been notated into the start of the third movement of the Wanamaker scherzo in the Duo Sonata.

Caleb Burhans's solo alto sax Escape Wisconsin is Reich-like in its minimalist iterative cell repetition. It began life as a piece for two vibraphones.

Kristin Kuster's Jellyfish is for sax and Lucia Unrau's piano. In three quirkily titled sections (Medusa; Blob; Thimbles) but one track. This piece is dissonant, variously hectic and deeply and darkly dreamy.

Kati Agocs' As Biddeth Thy Tongue returns us to the solo sax. Agocs' rhapsodic dissonant, harsh and sometimes horrifying progress takes us flutteringly through fear.

Duo Sonata for sax and, its brother, the clarinet (Robert Spring) is by Gregory Wanamaker. The two instruments are Icarus twins. They fill in each others notes, fly in aerobatic formation, encourage contemplation and indulge in jazz-jamming and minimalist caprice in the Blues finale.

The symphonist Daniel Asia is for me the only big name in this group. His The Alex Set for solo sax is the second oldest piece here. Of the five movements three entitled Alex I etc are interspersed with two entitled Interlude I etc. The music is angular and rhapsodic with a dusting of minimalist manners among the Orientalisms.

GLINT by Roshanne Etezady is for clarinet and sax again. It's a vertiginous and possessed flight into an everglades of bumping and groaning noises. Then follows an ascent succeeded by helter-skelter diving and rocketing upwards.

Philippe Hurel's OPCIT (1984) is for solo sax. It is the most dissonant piece here: rippling, groaning and writhing across its four extended sections seemingly with every avant-garde effect deployed.

Lastly we have Peter Terry's RISE for sax and Lucia Unrau’s synthesised piano. The piece has a nervy and jazzy stride, a touch of pianola torque, the occasional infusion of 1920s expressionism and grand guignol.

Good liner notes. Sensible design. Will suit the broad-minded sax repertoire enthusiast.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Release Date: June 29, 2010

  • UPC: 726708676421

  • Catalog Number: INN764

  • Label: Innova

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Caleb Burhans, Daniel Asia, Gregory Wanamaker, Kati Agocs, Kristin Kustler, Peter Terry, Philippe Hurel, Roshanne Etezady

  • Performer: Lucia Unrau, Robert Spring, Timothy McAllister