CIMP Review of Honeymoon on Saturn by Andrew Lamb Trio

With bassist Tom Abbs adding tuba, didgeridoo, and the occasional vocal to his setup, and all-around percussionist and long-tim collaborator Warren Smith on hand, the Andrew Lamb Trio generates a powerful sound on Honeymoon on Saturn. As engineer Mark Rusch observes, Lamb’s “tenor sounds like no other” that he’s recorded. His is a big and hard sound, tight and without any vibrato. In its absence of breath sound, you could almost think of it as the antithesis of latter-day Ben Webster. The tautness of Lamb’s approach to the horn almost inevitably leads to reed squeaks, which are incorporated into the flow of his ideas. Every one of his note choices has weight and heft. His lines are clear, emphatic, unexpected perhaps but establishing their own logic as they swirl past. In realizing his vision, he’s helped immensely by his partners, the cagey Abbs and the seriously under-appreciated Smith. Highlights in this deeply satisfying set include the animated three-way conversation that’s at the center of the long opening track, the elegantly strangled and insistent Year of the 13th Moon, the irresistible dance of A Alegria E O Prazer de uma boa Tarte, and the tender The Call of Love’s True Name, featuring a taste of Smith’s glockenspiel. At just over 10 minutes, Dance of the Prophet is a bit too long for its own good, an occasional hazard for the “what you hear is what it was” style of CIMP’s recordings. While Lamb’s tart, dry sound is definitely an acquired taste, it’s one worth cultivating for his fecund imagination and uniquely vivid style on tenor sax. Definitely recommended.2015_01_30_14_02_55

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