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Columbia University
Steve Lehman Octet's knotty 'Mise en Abime' forges a new path
Steve Lehman Octet's knotty 'Mise en Abime' forges a new path

Typically, music is a lot easier to hear than explain. Consider alto saxophonist Steve Lehman. Holding a doctorate in composition from Columbia University, Lehman is a dazzling talent with a compact tone and expansive ambitions that created one of 2009’s most acclaimed albums, “Travail, Transformation and Flow.” Built on a musical approach called spectral harmonies (“Otherworldly sonorities that are created through the precise juxtaposition of individual instrumental voices,” according to the album’s release -- sure, if you say so). Lehman’s methods may not be immediately easy to grasp on paper, but setting aside the back story, “Mise en Abîme” speaks for itself. Lehman’s taut sound...

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