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Chet Doxas – Rich In Symbols album review

New York jazzer’s rock odyssey.

Having worked with luminaries such as Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Maria Schneider and John Abercrombie, when Brooklyn-based sax player Chet Doxas isn’t carving himself a reputation in New York’s jazz scene, he can be found visiting the city’s art galleries. Gazing upon the work of artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring and others with his manuscript in hand, Doxas notates the music that comes to him in response to what he sees. The result is an accessible album delivered alongside a super-tight guitar, bass and drums outfit with Doxas on woodwinds and synths. Despite his jazz credentials, the album sounds and feels more like an instrumental rock album rather than your usual fusion fodder. Expansive, stirring themes are laid on top of surging drums that ramp up the emotional impact of the writing. Reminiscent at times of the kind of joyous, repetitious build in some of Michael Rother’s work, there’s an 80s retro vibe arising from the deployment of spiralling synth tones. Amid the exuberant interactions between guitar and sax, all kinds of surprises are tucked away on an album that celebrates invention, uplifting grooves and yearning melodicism.