Jérôme Sabbagh - The Turn

Review Jérôme Sabbagh - The Turn

Mastered by none other than the legendary Doug Sax along with Jett Galindo from an analog tape, ‘The Turn’ has been released in parallel formats, both as a highresolution digital download and an LP as the analog medium. If all goes well, this high-resolution digital download and the high quality analog release will be embraced, hopefully devoured, by a generation that’s turned increasingly to MP-3, and subscribes to this format for what they consider a reasonably highresolution medium for their jazz and pop listening. The analog tape is the reason the frequency spectrum of ‘The Turn’, under these circumstances, extends to just a little less than a lush 30 kHz. The technical responsibility for the sound quality on ‘The Turn’ is ultimately, of course, in the hands of the recording engineer on sight. In this case James Farber. As for the musical side, everything in this production is in balance; and it’s primarily French composer and tenor saxophonist, Jerome Sabbagh, who as producer assumed that responsibility for ‘The Turn’. This is his third album with the quartet that has remained unchanged for ten years, and which has earned a prominent place in the highly competitive New York jazz scene. The quartet’s trademark is its never noisy, lyrical pace. Besides Jerome Sabbagh, much of this is shaped by guitarist Ben Monder, who among other things learned under, and came through the school of Lee Konitz, and who brings the creative, harmonic foundation to the quartet’s lyrical playing style. Then there’s the contribution by drummer Ted Poor, whose quiet, unexcited pulse is sensitively complemented by bassist Joe Martin. The young man, who’s featured on the album cover doing a roundhouse power slide – a turn – on his motorcycle, doesn’t really embody the principal lyrical pace of the quartet. Unless you believe the quartet is doing a simulation of the power slide in super low motion in the title song, ‘The Turn’! The first song on the album – in super slow motion. With virtually frozen propulsion. Almost as if the analog tape was played too slow. Startled by the pronounced articulation of the drums, the quartet wakes up from their slumber after about a minute and a half into ‘The Turn’, and then goes into a sequential series of instrumental solos for the remainder of the song. Here the band members make a statement, each taking what they understood to be a ‘turn’, driving hard, but well below the momentum required for a roundhouse power slide. The quartet’s lyrical approach dominates here, as well as in ‘Long Gone’, a song with a nostalgic tone that begins with a quiet saxophone presentation without frills, followed immediately by the incorporation of bass, then guitar. Our young motorcyclist on the album cover might just have encountered a banshee – I know it seems a little far-fetched; but in the song, ‘Banshee’ this is excitedly discussed in all seriousness. Then the quartet takes us on a steep mountain climb in ‘Ascent’, leisurely to greater heights, where the air is thin, until we reach the entertaining and lively ‘Rodeo’, breathlessly arriving at the highest level in a place of cult worship, where our four musicians quietly celebrate a devotion, and finally after a trip through an imaginary park (‘Once Around the Park’) are led by the saxophone to worship an ‘Electric Sun’. Of course you can freely indulge in all the songs, the programed impulses, and the cover or just surrender to modern jazz, something the Sabbagh quartet has completely redefined in its own way.


Spectrogram
Sampling rate 96 kHz: verified
Bit depth 24 bit: okay

Commentary:
The available technical spectrum of 48 kHz is utilized well up to 30 kHz.

Jérôme Sabbagh - The Turn

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