The hip title of the recent benefit project "Red Hot & Cool" is a slick way to describe the mixed intentions of saxman Alex Murzyn
on For All People
(Monarch). He and his Bay Area-based ensemble blast out of the gate quickly, challenging anyone who felt the "jazz" had gone out of "contemporary jazz". Murzyn
's fiery, fat tones bounce in all directions over some slamming seductions courtesy of Jamie Fox's electric strings. Later tracks possess the same sort of tough live energy, melodic, yes, but more of a player's jam session. In the middle, though, Murzyn
tries to be too artsy, too thoughtful, and the momentum sags. A strong ballad can work among all the electricity, but the bland flute piece "For Heaven's Sake" really drags down the spirit. Based on the wilder material with all of its unique twists, and if they learn about tracking, Murzyn
and Fox (as well as keyboardist Jeff Chimenti
) have a bright future. Just keep the tempo up.