Editors’ Notes New York saxophonist Dayna Stephens, in superb form after a prolonged kidney-related crisis, pares down to that most challenging and open-ended of musical formats on Liberty: the saxophone-bass-drums trio. With bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland (the rhythm section from his 2007 debut The Timeless Now), Stephens explores a range of repertoire that highlights his capacity for deeply ruminative, swinging lyricism. Mainly a tenor player, he can hop over to alto for “Tarifa” and “Rhyming History” and retain his resonant tone and flow of ideas. Taking up baritone sax for “The Lost and Found,” revisited from The Timeless Now, he attains an even richer melodic gravitas, with Harland’s mysterious beat and echoing snare placing the tune in a new creative landscape. “The Sound Goddess” and “At Least 37th Cousins” have that Harland touch as well, propelled by a slinky, ambiguous groove sensibility. “Kwooked Stweet” and “Loosy Goosy,” previously recorded with larger groups, become robust tenor trio showcases here, as does the elegant Aaron Parks tune “Planting Flowers.”

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