Logan Strosahl, Sure (Sunnyside)
Piping at the high end of the flute’s range, guttural near the tenor sax’s low end, sliding, slurring and sometimes punching notes on alto saxophone, Strosahl is intense and full of surprises with his trio. His music is laced with classical allusions and marinated in jazz feeling. He, bassist Henry Fraser and drummer Allan Mednard create moments in this album in which they come remarkably close to what few groups in the history of improvised music have truly achieved; performing as if the music were the product of a single mind. That is stunningly so in parts of Strosahl’s “Three” and it is the case with the rhythmic interaction in a short version of Thelonious Monk’s “Coming On The Hudson.” Strosahl’s music has amusing moments and relaxing ones, but that is not to say that it’s easily accessible. The rewards—and there are many—come to those who listen closely. Fraser’s bass draws the listener inside in the opening moments of Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan,” and Strosahl’s alto sax caresses that precious melody with allusions to the style of Johnny Hodges, who made the piece a bulwark of the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s repertoire. The three inject Mel Stitzel’s “The Chant” with New Orleans parade-beat feeling, and Strosahl ends the album with a masterful, beautifully contained, solo that is occasionally out-and-out funny even before the abrupt ending.