George Brooks

Sokoband's music works really well for saxophone. That's what the band's old colleague Leroi Moore used to say, and it's true. Particularly true for a remake of In November Sunlight, an album which feature Mr. Moore on most of its tracks. But the music doesn't call for riffing and pure power playing; it calls for melodic inventiveness and soulfulness. There's a "macho jazz" aspect to much modern saxophone playing, which is something the band never looked for (and why it had previously only recorded with the magical Mr. Moore). One day, while surfing myspace, Michael Sokolowski came upon a sweet soprano sound wafting from computer speakers, buoyed by the powerhouse rhythm section of Steve Smith, Zakir Hussain, and Kai Eckhardt. It belonged to Bay Area saxophonist and Indian music scholar, George Brooks. The site characterized George's band sound as "Dexter Gordon meets Indian Classical." A few emails and phone calls later, the two were sharing files, PDFs of sheet music and chord charts, and ideas. George's dancing soprano is in the left channel, opposite Charlottesville VA's Bobby Read and his alto sax on the opening track, "Coast to Coast." Coast to coast, indeed.