Rich Perry

Happy Destiny
(SteepleChase Records)

Known for the pure, mellifluous tones of his tenor saxophone, Rich Perry is a minimalist who doesn’t shy away from unleashing his “Rebellion Dawgs” when the spirit moves him. And he has free rein to do that on Happy Destiny, his 26th date as a leader and his second all-originals album. The follow-up to Other Matters, the new release features the same rhythm section of pianist Gary Versace, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer John Riley.

The quartet comes out swingin’ on “Iron Buddha,” a fresh take on neo-cool jazz that leaves no doubt who the titular Buddha is: bass man Jay Anderson, who surfaces from way down deep to undergird the sonic tapestries woven by Perry, Versace and Riley. En route to “Happy Destiny,” the players also have a lot of fun, playing tag and hide-and-seek and melting together like chocolate fondue.

You can actually hear rain falling in the fecund “Plant Based,” which ends in a reverie of post-coital bliss. And, far from casting a gloomy shadow, “The Long Dark Spring” shines a beacon of hope. Following a lovely call and response with the keys, Perry’s sax flutters skyward, streaking across the heavens while the rhythmic heartbeat of the drum and bass invokes the meditative pulse of the “hare krishna” chant.

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July 2024
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