By Phil Freeman, Stereogum

I’ve always liked octets. Eight pieces — five horns plus a rhythm section — is an unusual configuration, not a big band but more than you usually get, and when deployed properly, on albums like McCoy Tyner’s Tender Moments or David Murray’s Ming, they can deliver extraordinary power and lush beauty. Saxophonist Tim Mayer has put together an octet for his first album in ten years; the band includes trumpeter Anthony Stanco, trombonist Michael Dease (who produced it and runs the D-Clef label), alto saxophonist Adam Rongo, baritone saxophonist Tony Lustig, pianist Miki Hayama, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Ulysses Owens. Read more here. 



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