Improvisation No. 1
With Branford, you usually count on crispness of attack, regardless of whether he's playing classical chestnuts, hip-hop fusion or a post-bop burner. So it's a gentle surprise to hear his sax(es) resonating like this, in a serene church setting. But what he may lose in edge, he gains in lyricism: Check out the breathy blues he finds in Steve Lacy's "Who Needs It" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust." The improv cuts give a hint of intensity; the CPE Bach jam is stately. You might want to hear Branford throw down in a club setting sometime soon, but this album is a fine tonic in his catalog.