Ian Rapien,
(independent, 2005)

Ian Rapien makes a formidable debut on Spectrums with nearly an hour of music filled with riffs and ideas.

In this fusion project, Rapien sometimes uses effects on his sax, particularly on the last cut, "The Loon." Romain Collin uses electric keyboards, Jordan Scanella plays electric and fretless bass, and Jordan Perlson plays rock-influenced drums.

Fortunately, there is not much of the funk that you hear too often in fusion. All seven tunes are played in a straight-ahead, driving style, even the lyrical "Phoenix From Time."

Many saxophonists who play both tenor and soprano use them for two different types of compositions, using the soprano occasionally for more unconventional work. Rapien handles both equally well, using the soprano as energetically as the tenor.

Rapien shows a be-bop influence at times, as he takes off with complicated solos. And there is a bit of smooth jazz influence with his use of melody and the careful production, although he never becomes bland or boring.

Rapien is only in his mid-20s, so hopefully this CD can establish him for a solid career in the jazz field. It is highly recommended for those who are looking for something that has life and energy in a world of bland crossover products.

by Dave Howell
17 February 2007

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