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Noah Preminger - Before the Rain (Palmetto, 2011)

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Tipping a subtle reference to John Coltrane's hauntingly beautiful song “After the Rain," saxophonist Noah Preminger makes his Palmetto debut with a collection of well crafted performances focusing on subtle and graceful ballad playing. He is joined on this album by a classy group including Frank Kimbrough on piano, John Hebert on bass and the always interesting Matt Wilson on drums. The music the group makes is spacious and moody, with an emotionally late-night vibe of rain slicked pavement under diffuse streetlights. The short “Where or When" sets the pace for the album with spare piano chords and light and serene saxophone playing. As you can imagine, with a title like “Quickening" the band picks up the pace quite a bit. Matt Wilson is excellent here, pushing the music forward and in complete support of the other musicians. The title track “Before the Rain" begins as a slow and melancholy meditation for saxophone and bass. The music builds a lush and patient feel, it's pastel colors accented with deft brush work and colorful piano chords. “Until the Real Thing Comes Along" is taken at a ballad pace, spare and thoughtful, and Preminger's saxophone is clear and well articulated. This is patient music for grown-ups, and the ballad-centric nature of the music makes it an after hours disc for the night owls of the world. Before the Rain—amazon.com

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