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98 Bottles was the spot for a rare appearance by saxophonist Ben Schachter's "East Coast" trio with bassist Leon Boykins, drummer Matt Scarano and special guest John Swana on EVI, (Electronic Valve Instrument) Oct. 3.

Opening with the Ornettian "For Joe," which lurched in stop/start time, Swana hit first, crafting horn-like phrases with synthesizer shaping. Schachter followed in full-throat mode, rippling with facility and locked into a drum/horn dialog a la 'Trane with Scarano. Boykins used bluesy repetitions strung together with sequential ideas in his wood-grained spot and Scarano kept an effervescent, parade groove happening.

Loping double-stops in the bass set the stage for "Cowboy Song," as Swana and Schachter doubled up on the laconic theme. Schachter's sound can be huge, almost cavernous and Swana leaned heavily on multiple delays and pitch-bending for science-fiction type effects.

Boykins creepy-crawler bass line in an odd-meter provided the bedrock for Monk's "Think Of One," a situation fully exploited by Swana's delightfully loopy solo which employed a plethora of trills and bent tones. Schachter spiraled impossibly fast runs capped off with hoarse shrieks and obscene lower register blats that intersected tangentially with Scarano's gutbucket shuffle. The drummer then proceeded to explode with more drama than all 5 seasons of "Breaking Bad," to ice the cake.

Photo by Patrick Escalante

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