Title - 'Know Say Or See'
Artist - Benny Rubin Jr. Quartet
For those not in the know, Benny Rubin Jr. is a Flint, Michigan born, Detroit raised tenor and alto-saxophonist now based in New York.
Rubin Jr. gained early experience playing saxophone in church. Indeed, he discovered jazz, graduated from the Detroit School of Arts, and worked locally with many top local musicians including Wendell Harrison, performing at the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival with the Detroit Jazz Festival Youth All-Stars.
Since moving to New York, Rubin has played with renowned artists such as Roy Hargrove, Reggie Workman, Barry Harris and Winard Harper and in 2017 formed his very own Quartet (Rubin Jr. on Alto and Tenor Sax; Lex Korten on Piano; Adam Olszewski on Bass; and JK Kim on Drums).
That Quartet's quite wondrous debut album, Know Say Or See was released this past June 8th, 2020 and features eight tracks that distinctly reflect on the times we are all currently in.
1. 'Know' (6:42)
2. 'Say' (4:59)
3. 'Darn That Dream' (5:24)
4. 'NYC Urge' (5:46)
5. 'Kiss Me Right' (8:05)
6. 'Flint Water Crisis' (7:55)
7. 'Down They Go' (11:07)
8. 'Or See' (7:49)
Having made a strong impression with his debut, What's Next, his sophomore album as a leader covers a lot of current topics, along with allowing for Rubin Jr. to express some of his own personal, heart on the sleeve thoughts too.
The Quartet performs six of Rubin's originals along with some rather fresh renditions of two standards here on Know Say Or See, opening with the lo-fi, low slung appeal of the sax and bass duet 'Know.'
They then back that up with the perky, yet explorative piano work of 'Say,' the bass-led beauty 'Darn That Dream,' and then comes the rip-roarious 'NYC Urge' (an original based on Joe Henderson's 'Inner Urge'), and the mid-tempo hipsway swing of Horace Silver's 'Kiss Me Right.'
The piece closest to his heart is obviously the musically disjointed, always evolving 'Flint Water Crisis' (named after a public health crisis that started in 2014, after the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed), and then the album comes to a close on the 11 minute, John Coltrane-esque 'Down They Go,' and then the comforting, spiritually absorbed jam of 'Or See.'
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