LaBarbera is a highly respected teacher, and Jansson undoubtedly matured greatly under his tutelage. Like most of his contemporaries, LaBarbera had been overwhelmed by the influence of John Coltrane. Jansson did not ignore this, but he also sought inspiration from earlier saxophonists, especially in the area of sound production. As a result, he combines a fully modern harmonic sensibility with a warm tonal palette that is particularly impressive on ballads and blues. In this respect he is something of a throwback--in the best sense of the word--to a time when saxophone solos had a more expressive vocal quality and were structured more like conversations than purely abstract excursions. He will demonstrate this well when he plays at Kerrytown Concert House with his old high school friend guitarist Randy Napoleon on Friday, January 8.
[Originally published in January, 2010.]