It’s tempting, particularly with the advent of smooth jazz radio, for a young saxophonist to follow the formula of success and create something more suited as pop instrumental than any type of jazz. Nir Naaman breaks that particular mold with Independence (Naaman Music, 2014), which could be his way of saying he won’t conform to contemporary expectations or appease commercial radio powers. Instead, he chooses a style reminiscent of post-World War II jazz, making it fun and free rather than catchy and trite.

Naaman plays tenor, alto and soprano saxes. For most tracks, he uses a quartet format with Dezron Douglass on bass throughout. Piano duties are split between George Cables and Roy Assaf. Drums are split by Gregory Hutchinson and Ulysses Owens Jr. Trumpeter Marcus Printup sits in on two tracks.

Naaman and Printup blend on the lead for “Ohali Blues.” Trumpet and sax playing together often makes for the most enjoyable sound in jazz. The instruments split, with the tenor taking point. It’s a lively, finger-snapping tune that serves as a great introduction to Naaman of listeners who aren’t familiar with him. Printup delivers a jaunty trumpet solo. During the closing sequence, Hutchinson gives the kit a brief but intense workout.

Don’t let the tranquil beginning of “Dream” lull you into a false sense of insecurity. It’s just setting you up. Naaman shifts to the soprano sax. And the tranquility lasts only a few seconds. Before long, the passion heats up, though just for a moment. Assaf takes point during a “calm before the storm” interlude. When Naaman comes back in, things are still quiet, but there’s a sense of a tempest brewing. Then, boom, a crash of Owens’ cymbals, and we’re off. Naaman plays like a gale that shifts from a straight-line wind to a twister.

A native of Israel, Naaman has performed with such artists as Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave Samuels and Winard Harper. He served as a lead alto saxophonist in the Israeli Air Force Band. He moved to the United States in 2004 and went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music. In 2010, Naaman took part in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. His mentors there were Dr. Billy Taylor, Nathan Davis, Curtis Fuller and Cables.