WBGO Radar

Noah Preminger: Haymaker

Noah Preminger

"That little shaggy hair look that he’s got, you might think he’s a pushover..."

That's what Noah Preminger's trainer, Carlos, said about the saxophonist in 2011. I had just witnessed a sparring match between Preminger and bassist Michael Feinberg at West Side Gym in Harlem.  Noah was no pushover that day. "I feel like I hit hard," he said.  "I wanna hurt somebody - in a sportish way.  It feels good to do it like this."

Was there a connection between boxing and playing music? "Practicing," said Preminger.  "I’m here all the time getting my footwork and combinations together.  It’s the same mentality as picking up the horn, learning the tunes and refining your sound."

I'm not sure what this story has to do with the recording you're about to hear, other than the fact that it's called Haymaker - like a punch meant to knock out an opponent. The quartet - Preminger on tenor saxophone, guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Matt Pavolka and drummer Colin Stranahan - plays this music forcefully and patiently. Noah Preminger's sound holds strength in its sheer transparency - an attractive gauze that he wraps tightly around phrases.  Unsentimental romanticism and tenderness seem to lurk within such well placed jabs.

Noah premiered some of this music in a studio session on The Checkout.
Haymaker releases on May 14th.  Hear it below. - Josh Jackson 

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