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Spectrums by Ian Rapien

New England area saxophonist/composer Ian Rapien architects a group sound that touches upon scorching jazz-fusion, off-kilter funk motifs, straightforward modern jazz and R&B. From the onset of the album opener titled "Dionysus Dines," Rapien commandeers a rapidly moving rhythmic vessel, complemented by Romain Collin’s gritty, digital-organ stylizations.

On some tracks, the saxophonist fuses phased-out EFX into his performances, countered with a whirlwind mode of attack. And with pieces devised upon tricky time signatures, often abetted by gobs of zip and punch, the quartet engenders various genre-morphing motifs where borders seem nonexistent. Rapien’s fluent tenor and soprano sax work serves as a strong soloing voice as he conveys an expansive jazz vernacular and seems comfortable within various metrics. Otherwise, his effects driven sax lines might cause a bit of concern for the staunch jazz purist, although he uses electronics with judicious intent.

One of the keys to success here is rooted within diversity, brisk movement and boisterous, up-tempo flows. On "The Loon," the rhythm section veers into a slinky, Headhunters like vamp amid a topsy-turvy sequence of events. There are quite a few unanticipated surprises here - all translating into a highly entertaining jaunt that warrants repeated listens. Rapien surfaces as top-notch idea man, during this high-strung date.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ian Rapien
  • CD Title: Spectrums
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Rating: Three Stars
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