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Andy Laster

When the name Andy Laster is involved, we know in advance that what we’re gonna hear is a kind of chamber jazz, uncommonly elegant and elaborated, but with all the groovyness and the soul of this music style. Maybe this saxophonist’s (alto and baritone, sometimes also clarinet) work can be called “intelectual” – the album “Interpretations of Lessness” and his band Lessness are inspired by the writer and dramaturgist Samuel Beckett, a master of the non-sense, at the most essential level, transposing the rhythms, colors and states of mind of his stories and plays –, but that informed condition doesn’t necessarily turns it more “difficult”. This is warm, breathy music, and many times with a great sense of humour compensating its logical moves. After all, funk-jazz reedmen Cannonball Adderley and Maceo Parker are among his main influences. Laster’s compositions are angular, multi-layered (even if spacious) and tendentiously abstract, maintaining much of the feeling of the Third Stream school. Imagine a mix of Ornette Coleman and Julius Hemphill soloing in a Charles Mingus group that uses contemporary classical techniques and forms and you won’t be far. Great part of Andy Laster’s music is scored, but its structures are open enough to invite improvisational deviations, and sometimes it’s difficult to know what was written and what is composed in the moment.

Andy Laster's records on clean feed
Hard Blues
Julius Hemphill Sextet
 
     
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