Saturday, October 10, 2009


Jon Irabagon welcome to my blog. Come in. Let me take your coat. Make yourself comfortable. Would you care for anything to drink? The wife went shopping yesterday so I have soda, fruit juice, soymilk and spring water. Would you mind if I played your new album “The Observer” while we talk? I invited you to my blog because I’ve listened to “The Observer” off and on for three weeks, and I want my readers to meet you. I want to tell you face-to-face how much I like this new album. It’s old school acoustic jazz indeed. Moreover, you are a charismatic alto saxophonist in the tradition of Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges. Your playing is unpretentious, clean, and you have put out an album that can be to listened daily.

On your website I read that last year you won the Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition. You have been playing the sax since age 4. You graduated from DePaul University, and in 2001 one you moved to New York to continue your music studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
You’re, indeed, a dedicated jazz musician. You got pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer VictorLewis to perform on “The Observer”. I'm sure if you weren't dedicated those cats would have declined your invitation to play on this project. You have a knack for ballads. Your blowing on the ballad “Bar Fly” was pretty and as lovely as a prom dress.

Jon, on selections such as “Joy Secret”, “Cup Bearers” and “Big Jim’s Twins” you are a thirsty improviser. When you improvise, you aren’t carried away, blowing as if you’re having a fit. Your improvising is thrilling. You take your listeners on a musical joyride. You governed this album with an iron fist not allowing any meaningless horseplay.You didn't encourage the musicians to try to outfox each other. You doled out the assignments, and the band stuck to the script. Their soloing was poignant not flashy.

Jon thanks for making time to visit this blog. I will make it a priority to tell as many of my readers about “The Observer”. The doors of this blog are always open, and you’re welcome to visit whenever you have a new project.
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