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Posted on Wed, Mar. 17, 2004

"Sage" Sage

Emerging from the cerebral town of New Hope, Pennsylvania comes a band as diverse as the many shops and galleries that line the Main Street of its hometown.

Sage's self-titled debut album (recorded in front of a live audience at Sweet Creek Studios, Ottsville, PA), offers two discs packed to the brim with upbeat grooves sure to make you move your body.

Highlights start with disc one's "Edna," whose quirky lyrics introduce the first of three or four highly climactic, extended improvisations. However, even the album's shorter songs swiftly produce intensity.

"Dagobah" is a short Santana-ish instrumental that intertwines the lead and rhythm guitars of Marc Gallo and Tim Nayfield to salsa perfection while complementing them with Dave "Tree" Ryden's steady bass line.

Disc two is even more prominent, exploding off to the races with another salsa-like instrumental, "El Viaje," into the reggae sampling of "Downtown." "Love Your Mother" is a well-written story ballad by drummer Gabe Rohmann with an excellent lead solo from Gallo sandwiched in between the tale.

"Rocking Chair" and "Flow" both unleash long, and very contrasting free improvisations. "Chair" escalates to a dramatic and electrifying conclusion, while "Flow" is a more plateau-like jam that hypnotically fuses all four instruments equally.

The end of the disc is difficult to distinguish without looking at the whole display, as it segues into "Texas River" via Nayfield's lyrics. This song later progresses to -and ends with- a rapid bluegrass signature.

Rating B+



River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains

Thursday, March 18, 10 p.m.

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