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INTUITION INT 3395 2 [65:19]




Randy (Mariano) [6:54]
Waltz for Fee (Gregor Huebner) [8:30]
Three Leaves (Mariano) [7:35]
Plum Island (Mariano) [7:42]
Elm (Beirach) [10:37]
Nardis (Miles Davis) [6:59]
My Foolish Heart (Washington/Young) [5:45]
Rectilinear (Beirach) [5:08]
Beauty (Veit Huebner) [5:47]
Charlie Mariano (alto sax)
Gregor Huebner (violin)
Richie Beirach (piano)
Veit Huebner (bass)
Recorded 9 October, 2004, Stuttgart, Germany.

For a good number of years, Charlie Mariano has been one of the most open minded (and open eared) musicians working within the boundaries of the musical language generally referred to as jazz. Born in 1923 in Boston, his career began at the very beginning of the 1940s, playing with local bands in and around his home town. In the 1950s he went on to work with bands such as that of Stan Kenton and with musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Mingus and Shelly Manne (to name but a few). During the 1960s and 1970s he mainly lived and worked in Europe and India (where he acquired a competence on the nagaswaram – a double reed wind instrument). He played and recorded with jazz-rock musicians such as Eberhard Weber and Philip Catherine, Jaspar van't Hof and Jan Hammer. Endlessly eclectic, but consistently true to himself, there can surely be few musicians who have been equally at home, at one time or another, in the company of Nat Pierce and The Karnataka College of Percussion, with Jaki Byard, Kenny Wheeler and Jack Bruce.

This present CD finds Mariano, a ‘veteran’ by any definition of the term but far from the least ossification of the musical imagination, playing alongside the fine pianist Richie Beirach, classically trained but a (younger) veteran of jazz groups such as Lookout Farm (with Dave Liebman) and groups led by, inter alia, Chet Baker, Stan Getz and Lee Konitz; also the German violinist Gregor Huebner, composer and instrumentalist, whose work is as likely to recall Stuff Smith or Leroy Jenkins as to echo the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin, and his brother Veit Huebner, who contributes both some rock-solid rhythmic bass and some wittily humorous inventions of his own.

This is a band of eclectics, a band not confined by traditional ideas of genre or conventional notions of distinct musical idioms. Beirach and Gregor Huebner have often worked together – as, for example, with George Mraz, on outstanding albums such as Round About Bartok (ACT 9276-2), Round About Federico Mompou (ACT 9286-2) and, my own favourite, Round About Monteverdi (ACT 941`2-2). Their musical familiarity with one another contributes to the success of the present album, on which Beirach plays with a joyous lucidity and clarity, hard swinging at times, generating long bop and post-bop runs across the keyboard and at other times touchingly meditative and introspective, echoic of both Bill Evans and, indeed, classical impressionism. Gregor Huebner plays throughout with inventive and imaginative wit, though I am not sure that he fuses jazz and classical idioms with quite the naturalness and completeness that Beirach does. Mariano finally steals the album, playing with intense emotionality, by turns plangent and humorous, his melodic lines distinctive alike in their deceptive simplicity and their unexaggerated passion.

Musically sophisticated and full of emotional substance, this is an album which can be warmly recommended to all listeners who aspire (at least) to the kind of open-mindedness which has for so long characterised the work of the remarkable Charlie Mariano.

Glyn Pursglove

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