The slick, jet-black spirit of cool jazz is embodied by the mythological street-corner saxophonist. We picture him as a guy in a fedora and shades, knees bent in ecstasy, torso swaying back and forth as his lungs push air through his pursed lips to rip forth some of the cheesiest sax this side of being put on hold with tech support. His saxophone case is open on the ground in front of him. It's filled with a few quarters and a "Jews for Jesus" pamphlet. But he doesn't care. The moon is rising. The alley cats are rousing, and this cool cat is illuminated by the corner streetlight like a cornball virtuoso under the soft gaze of a nightclub's spotlight.
Less familiar than this iconic, archetypal goof is the free-jazz wildman, a lone-wolf sonic shaman who charges down the city street blaring end-is-near freakouts for heads to feel and squares to fear. Be there this Wednesday when PAX gets a taste of jazz's wild side with percussionist Abbey Rader and saxophonist John McMinn.
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Rader is a Bronx kid whose love of swing and bop led him to an Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit hole that yielded two decades' worth of gigging around Europe in various ensembles, plus a little side work as a jazz drumming professor at a German university. Matching Rader's rolling, free-flowing spurts of rhythm is McMinn's blend of syncopated-to-wailing sax stylings. He is a veteran of big-name jazz events such as the Newport Jazz Festival and the London Saxophone Festival. And if you've ever experienced one of their live improv freakouts, it's obvious that Rader and McMinn have been vibing together for quite some time.