Bryan Savage, Rush Hour (52:18) Higher Octave Jazz 5038525 2001 www.higheroctave.com "Smooth jazz" is definitely not for everyone, but saxophonist Bryan Savage is certainly one of the genre's most sophisticated exponents. On his third Higher Octave release, he shows himself to be a cut above: no shrieking high notes or wearying technical displays, but rather a calm, luesy style and a warm tone. The tracks partake of a certain studio slickness but rarely cross the line into cheese; the recording quality is excellent, and the playing is airtight. (Kudos to guitarist Howard Arthur, keyboardist Dave Hanson, bassist Chris Engelman, and drummer Larry hompson.) Savage picks up the flute for "Wind River" and "Zuma Beach" and plays soprano on "Coral Princess," which reappears toward the end as a pumped-up remix by 3rd Force. The peppy and harmonically interesting "Walkabout" is another of the highlights. ~David R. Adler
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