Album Review of
Wabi Sabi

Written by Joe Ross
April 23, 2021 - 1:44pm EDT
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Named for American jazz musician and bandleader Billy Tipton (1914-1989), The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet & Drums have created a splendid hour-long album of spirited originals with an existential groove.  Wabi Sabi is based on the Japanese Buddhist philosophy of finding beauty in the imperfections and transience of nature. Thus, I listened to The Tiptons’ music with more than just its sounds in mind, rather focusing also on its shapes, forms, textures and colors. Soon, I discovered that the music engages all of our senses with expressive statements. Each of the four sax players (Amy Denio, Jessica Lurie, Sue Orfield and Tina Richerson) create an aesthetic that’s joyful and celebratory in pieces like “December's Dance,” “El Gran Orinador,” “A Sparkley Con” and “Memory Bait.” Some occasional vocalizing (in selections like “Wabi Sabi,” “Root Dance” and “Moadl Joadl”) blends sweetly with the band’s instrumentation. Robert Kainar’s drums give the music a pulse that allows it to resonate with all. The mellow “Working Song” closes the set with a lighter, lyrical tag. The Tiptons have gathered up a potpourri of varied musical treasures, and then cohesively arranged them meticulously for a boutique, pleasurable listen. Wabi Sabi’s deeper message seems that we should look beyond an item’s surface to celebrate a reality akin to freedom, comfort and expression. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)