By Peter Margasak
In the right hands an alto saxophone can emit airy sounds that are buoyant and light and move smoothly across any disturbances that might intersect their paths. New York reedist Michaël Attias is a fluid, inventive improviser whose performances are marked by that deft and nimble touch. He’s one of the more overlooked musicians on the improv-jazz scene, but his superb new album with his long-running trio Renku—titled Live in Greenwich Village (Clean Feed)—offers the kind of magic that in a just world would correct that wrongdoing. Over the limber grooves and texture-rich machinations of bassist John Hébert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi he traces out fluid melodies full of tart accents and elegant shapes, and even when the intensity cranks up and the harmonies veer toward dissonance, the music retains its irresistible bounciness. Once a regular collaborator of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Attias doesn’t make it to town often, and though he’s never performed solo here before, he’ll be doing just that tonight on alto sax and piano. The performance is part of Experimental Sound Studio’s weekly “Option” series and will be followed by a discussion with percussionist Tim Daisy.