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Jon Irabagon can often be found playing with a gang of ultra-avant types. For example: He holds down a tenor sax chair in guitarist Mary Halvorson's quintet and septet groups, as well as in the post-modern prankster ensemble Mostly Other People Do the Killing (in which he trades death-defying frontline licks with trumpeter Peter Evans). But Irabagon is more than just a spitfire modernist: He's a smooth contemporary post-bop operator, too, as you can hear on tracks like "January Dream," from his 2009 album The Observer.

Resting in between these extremes is the role Irabagon's sound plays in Dave Douglas' current band, where he can burn it up with the rest of the ensemble (on a tune like "Garden State") or provide expert accompaniment for a countrified vocalist (on the track "High on a Mountain"). Click play on our mix, and you'll hear Irabagon in all of these environments and more -- including a stellar cut from his latest collaboration with legendary percussionist Barry Altschul. Enjoy!

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