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Subway Moon

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Subway Moon is not an easy album to pin down stylistically. Some parts of this 2009 release favor instrumental avant-garde jazz, while much of the disc contains spoken word recited over jazz backing (jazz poetry, if you will). And the opening track, an intriguing cover of the O'Jays' "Love Train" (as opposed to "Love's Train" by ConFunkShun) approaches the Philadelphia International/Gamble & Huff classic not as Philly soul, but as a reflective blend of R&B and folk. "Love Train" is the 54-minute CD's least jazz-minded offering, although there is some type of jazz connection on all of the subsequent tracks — and Roy Nathanson gives listeners an album that isn't quite as consistent as some of his other discs but hits the mark more often than not. Spoken word, like avant-garde jazz, can be self-indulgent, but the best spoken word effectively tells the listener some type of story, however abstract. And Nathanson's spoken word tells stories — specifically, stories about urban life. New York City's subway system is his point of reference, although tracks like "Subway Noah" and "Alto Rain" are also meaningful if an urbanite gets around via the London Tube, the Paris Metro, or the Chicago El. The fact that Nathanson is creatively inspired by the Big Apple doesn't mean that he comes across as the stereotypically provincial New Yorker who believes that all other cities pale in comparison. No, Subway Moon connects with urbanites all over the world whether they're taking Madrid's Metro to La Puerta del Sol or heading from Syntagma Square to Monastiraki in Athens, Greece — and when Nathanson provides an instrumental, he is relatively accessible by avant-garde jazz standards. Subway Moon isn't perfect, but all things considered, it is an album the risk-taking saxman can be proud to have in his catalog.


Genre: Jazz

Jahre aktiv: '80s, '90s, '00s

Based in New York, multi-reedist Roy Nathanson is co-founder of Jazz Passengers, performs in Matt Darriau's Paradox Trio, and was once a member of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards. Nathanson studied saxophone with Jimmy Heath, Joe Allard and Les Scott, and acting with Mira Rostova. Nathanson has acted in films by directors Jim Jarmusch, Chantal Akerman and Elaine May. He also had a feature role in Peter Lilenthal's children's film, Wasserman. In 1986, Nathanson joined the Lounge Lizards, and the following...
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Subway Moon, Roy Nathanson
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