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"...the saxophone-heavy Microscopic Septet drew on a cache of sophisticated improvisers and two of the era's most sophicated and stylistically slippery jazz composers and players – the pianist Joel Forrester and the saxophonist Phillip Johnston. This reunion promises equal parts zaniness and braininess..."
– The New Yorker
"...the Microscopic Septet served notice that they remain one of New York's most distinctive and entertaining groups."
– All About Jazz New York
"They took 20 years off, but it seems like they never went away.... Lots of comedy, which is sorely missing from most jazz, and whacked-out solos and ensemble playing. Why wasn't this disc more celebrated?"
– Denver Post
"...a wildly idiosyncratic, devastatingly accomplished ensemble."
– Wall Street Journal
"The Microscopic Septet...served up serpentine bop melodies, suave four-saxophone arrangements, and Dixieland-style collective raves–sometimes in the space of a single chart."
– Time Out New York
released 17 September 2008
Originally active from 1980-1992, the "Micros" started with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture that was sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era, but used influences from the entire continuum of jazz. The result was a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding orchestration, ideas, compositions and inspired soloing. The Micros were one of the most celebrated of the many cutting-edge units associated with experimental music's best-known venue, the Knitting Factory, during the peak years of the "Downtown" music movement in the late '80s and early '90s. In 2006, Cuneiform reissued their four albums as two double CD sets, which gained stupendous praise, attention and sales and the Micros reunited to play a few shows to celebrate their release and had such a good fun that they decided to make it ‘an occasional regular thing’. So, the Microscopic Septet are back with their first album in 20 years! Their sound is the sound of jazz in America; ALL of it, from Ayler to Zorn, bebop to Basie, Ellington to Thelonious. The Microscopic Septet distill the essence of jazz into a sound that swings – a music that is intelligent, sometimes humorous, and always good fun. They aren’t afraid to have some fun with the great jazz tradition while also paying homage to it. Despite the long lay-off, I think this is their best album yet. Maybe jazz needs the inventiveness and good-humored, swinging fun of Micros more now than ever before...
Microscopic Septet albums available on Bandcamp: