Basher – ‘100% Humidity’ (Album Review)

We’ve remarked on the neat brilliance of saxophonist Byron Asher’s music before. The Louisiana artist has been a solid staple in a number of groups who have hit our radar (supporting percussionist Zach Rhea in live settings and in the trio Nutria, for instance). Now, Asher has released his own trio album alongside alto saxophonist Reagan Mitchell and drummer Brad Webb (another Louisiana player whose praises we have sung) called 100% Humidity, out now on Breakfast 4 Dinner Records.

Two reed instruments and a drum make for an interesting trio. The clean sound so replete on that aforementioned Nutria album is very much present here. That same sense of spacing, balance, and even tone is all there. Asher and Mitchell have a great dynamic together and they both take lead adeptly. Webb, as always, dazzles on the kit, flying but never “busy”. This could likely be said of the Breakfast 4 Dinner releases, but the notion of brilliant musicians creating great work with simple elements seems to be thematic of this label, and this is a prime example. Webb’s solo on “Biscayne Blvd.” highlights not just how great a player he is but also how much he’s doing with this simple kit.

“March Désolée” has a great arch to it, interesting turns, and a good sense of groove. “Ism II” builds into a neat jam that breaks into explosiveness and fades away as if rolling into the sea. Closer “This Basement Has Windows”, Asher and Mitchell slink about playfully lugubriously leaving Webb to keep a slow pace.

If you have any familiarity these Louisiana musicians, you know that this is another feather in their billowing caps. If you know anything about Byron Asher specifically, it’ll be good to see him take lead in this group but to do so with a trio with a sharp but easy-going sound that fits Asher’s countenance. If you don’t know anything about these folks at all, you’ll discover an example of jazz music from this scene that’s sure to delight and surprise and consistently keep on your radar, since Asher and Co. have been on the scene a minute. And for a neat album like 100% Humidity — whether you know or don’t know about Byron Asher, Reagan Mitchell, and Brad Webb — there’s something for anyone who’ll hear it.

100% Humidity, the new album from tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Byron Asher’s trio, Basher, is out now on Breakfast 4 Dinner Records.

Byron Asher – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Reagan Mitchell – alto saxophone
Brad Webb – drums and cymbals

Recorded by Brad Webb in the “basement” with assistance from Aaron Boudreaux, July 2017
Mixed and Mastered by Jeff Albert
Produced by Byron Asher and Jeff Albert