Sam Gendel – Pass If Music

It’s hard to tell on first listen, but the L.A.-based Gendel made every sound on his new album using his alto saxophone. “Pass If Music” is hardly a solo jazz album, though. Rather, the musician harnesses his horn in service of ambient tones and experimental works that reside outside genre distinctions.

“East L.A. Haze Dream” floats like an amorphous cloud of vapor as Gendel layers gently blown notes with the occasional brief sax run. “Trudge” is a darkened mantra featuring lower-register hums and a minimal rhythm that marches with determination.

In notes, the artist writes that it and the other eight pieces were inspired by the motion picture “The Labyrinth & the Long Road,” [directed by Daniel Oh] for which Gendel contributed the score, and that makes sense. It’s an atmospheric work that evokes its own brand of drama.” –Randall Roberts for the Los Angeles Times

photography by Matt Hayslett

February 15th, 2018