First off, no jokes about this cat’s surname (not even from me). This Jeff Coffin fellow plays several saxophones, clarinet and flute and composed all the tunes. Second, the hyperbole (every reviewer has to indulge one ‘n’ awhile): whether or not one believes in reincarnation or not, a case can be made that the spirit of Rahsaan Roland Kirk resides in Mr. Coffin’s mortal frame. He possesses the same freewheeling, in-and-out quality as Kirk: his tone is rich with the wail of the blues, he can soar into the stratosphere at a moment’s notice and he always swings madly and with gentle but hearty humor. Coffin sounds as if he’d be at home playing with Don Cherry in his pan-cultural mode as with Brother Jack McDuff in a smoky little joint uptown where the taste of HOT barbecue sauce is always fresh in your mouth. He testified with a bar-walker’s fervor on "Dewey" (with its Albert Ayler-ish melodic line, no less), wails on tenor with the authority and tenderness of a cross between Don Byas and Booker Ervin and reinvigorates the concept of straight-ahead bebop alto on "Go-Round," where he sounds like a young Art Pepper or Sonny Stitt. But he’s no rebopper, peddling refried hard-bop circa 1963 - Coffin is an eclectic composer who lives in the here ‘n’ now as well as being an ace reeds-person.
The graceful, pensive ballad "As In The Beginning.... " incorporates elements of klezmer and the strutting "Tall And Lanky" grooves like Rusty Bryant sitting in with the Meters taking "Take Five" down to New Orleans. The album closes with the heartening, hymn-like "Ibrahim," presumably a tribute to South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, which features shining piano from Chris Walters, who does not try to sound just like the subject. The rest of Coffin’s team includes the crisp, inspired rhythm work of Derek Jones (acoustic bass) and Tom Giampietro (drums), who keep things jumpin’ throughout, and Roy Agee on trombone. Go-Round is a stylistically diverse yet consistently excellent listen, and one of the few discs I’ve ever let play all the through on the very first listen, and proof positive that this Coffin guy is a Contender.