AMN Reviews: Keir Neuringer – Ceremonies Out of the Air

coverEvery once in a while I start thinking that there’s nothing new to be heard in solo saxophone recordings, but I’m always wrong. Case in point, this release from the Philadelphia-based Keir Neuringer. Ceremonies Out of the Air demonstrates what one person with versatile skills can coax out of an instrument.

Neuringer has spent many years in Europe and the U.S., collaborating with Rafal Mazur, Ensemble Klang, Evan Parker, Reuben Radding, Matt Bauder, Andrew Drury, and many others. This, his first solo release, is an 80-minute, 5-track tour-de-force of the saxophone that was recorded in a single night in August 2013.

Each piece has a distinct emotional or philosophical meaning to Neuringer, evoked in the form of continuous, floating notes and chords. Often multiphonic, Neuringer’s approach is both heartfelt and cerebral. His style is somewhat reminiscent of John Butcher, but too idiosyncratic for a direct comparison.

Rolling and scraping, Neuringer uses both sounds, and makes liberal use of the space between sounds, to kindle quiet interludes between long, wavering drones. Sometimes repetitive and minimalistic, but never a dull moment throughout its length, Ceremonies Out of the Air sets a high water mark in the often-overlooked oeuvre of solo sax.

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