Know Say Or See
Review by Willard Manus

Another outstanding newcomer is Benny Rubin Jr., a young saxophonist out of Detroit, who is presently making waves in New York, where he plays regularly at the Sound Bite, a jazz club in Hell’s Kitchen.

Rubin recorded his first album (“What’s Next”) in 2017; now he’s followed it up with KNOW SAY OR SEE, on which he plays with brilliance and flair on eight tunes, five of which are his own compositions. Accompanying him are three equally young and bold players: Lex Korten (piano); Adam Olszewski (bass) and JK Kim (drums). Together they comprise a quartet that is a harbinger of things to come.

Rubin kicks things off with “Know,” a slow blues that he turns inside and out in inventive fashion. It’s followed by intensely-played, fresh-sounding versions of “Darn That Dream” and “Kiss Me Right.” On “Say,” “NYC Urge,” “Flint Water Crisis” and “Down They Go,” Rubin and his band-mates kick out all the stops, playing in dynamic, free-flowing fashion that calls to mind early Coleman and Coltrane. Somehow Rubin manages to top himself on “Or See,” leading the way with gut-wrenching intensity and improvisational skill.

KNOW SAY OR SEE got its name because, according to Rubin, “It means things that people don’t want you to Know, Say or See.” The title aside, this album just might become a collector’s item one day.

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