By Bill Meyer
This record is credited to the Avram Fefer Quartet, and it’s true that the Brooklyn-based alto and tenor saxophone wrote the tunes and leads the band. But he’s not necessarily the guy you will listen to every time that you play it. Not that there’s anything wrong with Fefer’s playing, which combines Sonny Rollins’ muscularity with an affinity for bold melodies rooted equally in soul jazz and West African pop music. He’s got ideas, emotion and chops to spare. But damn, what a band! Fefer and bassist Eric Revis have an association going back to the 1990s; no matter which way the music rolls, the foundation is solid. Drummer Chad Taylor is a regular member of a trio with Fefer and Revis which made a couple records a decade or so back, and he’s also a member of bands led by Revis and guitarist Marc Ribot. Taylor never misses a chance to turn the music up a little closer to a boil, and the blues-rooted tone that Ribot favors here adds steely sentiment to the blues, mass to the Afrobeat repetitions, and confident complexity to the free interludes in this music. So, if your attention wavers from the saxophone for a second, it’s probably because you’re listening to how one of his accompanists is playing off of another one. Wotta band!