Half Notes: Roxy Coss – Roxy Coss (2011)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Women continue to move into areas of jazz long dominated by men, and in a big way. Even since I made a big to-do about this trend a couple of summers ago, the parade of girls muscling their way into the boys’ club continues on stronger than ever. The latest to tear down that barrier is a tenor/soprano saxophonist and flautist Roxy Coss. Ms. Coss has just released her first CD and although there’s pretty face on the cover of it, she’s anything but just that. She’s got a very sweet but full tone and knows not to pile on too many notes, just play the right ones and makes it sound easy in the process. Moreover, she wrote all eight tracks for her self-made CD, which range from waltzing balladry (“Wandering One”) to slowly sizzling soul (“Lately”) to fusion (“The Slow Ascent”), to full-on straight ahead jazz (“The Cherry On Top”). This and her changing instruments of choice keeps the record varied and interesting. Even though many of the tracks are electric jazz with a contemporary vibe, none of it ever sounds like something that would find its way on a smooth jazz station; Coss’ music might be very listenable but it’s not overly light. Backed by a quintet that includes Kate Miller as a very capable foil on trumpet, Roxy Coss is an easy record to get into without any guilty feelings. Visit her website here.

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