Label: JUST // //
If it seems strange that an obviously qualified jazz multi-reedman such
as Michael Marcus opted to record his second album for Justin Time
playing such obscure collector's items as saxello and stritch, just
listen to what he does with these rarely explored experimental
offspring of Adolphe Sax. Working in tandem with veteran pianist Jaki
Byard, a living definition of jazz eclecticism, Marcus moves neatly
through seven originals and two standards, the concluding "Darn That
Dream" and a seamlessly connected medley of "Giant Steps" and "Naima,"
upon which he turns to his rich, full- bodied bass clarinet for a
deeply moving solo. Of course, it is great to hear the inimitable Jaki
once again, weaving his stride-to-surrealistic lines in and out of the
duo mix, but equal attention should also be paid Marcus, whose mastery
of the stritch and saxello, horns presumably untouched since the days
of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, excels in intonational quality the work of many
better known contemporary altomen and sopranists.