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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



artistShare A50078



1.Daze [7:51]
2.JWS [5:54]
3.Espresso Crescent [6:45]
4.Choro Dançado [5:50]
5.Heimat [8:32]
6.Squealfish [8:26]
7.Eel Thye Deeflat [7:35}
8.Skyliner [6:20]
9. Man in The Black Hat [7:45]

Torben Waldorf: Guitar
Donny McCaslin: Tenor Saxophone
Sam Yahel: Piano, Fender Rhodes,Organ
Matt Clohesy: Bass
Jon Wilkan: Drums, Percussion
All selections composed by Torben Waldorf (Except #4 by Maria Schneider and #9 by Jon Wilkan #6 written soli by Joel Miller.)

There is some very classy playing on this CD.

Donny McCaslin produces some of the most pleasing sounds I have heard from a tenor saxophone. The tone has no hint of the ‘rootie-tootie frog-in-the-throat’ sound that some tenor players seem to favor. He has a huge range and is also capable of some very nippy passage-work which shows he has a lot of technique.

Sometimes I felt that the hours of exercises he must have practiced to get to this level of mastery came straight back in some of his solos, and he was forced to retreat into the technical stuff whilst he re-charged his musical battery for his next invention.

Sam Yahel’s keyboard work is discreet and effective. It is all too easy to swamp everyone with an organ or the vibrant ever vibrating Fender Rhodes. Everything was very sympathetic and you can almost hear him listening when he is backing his soloists.

His own solos are well-controlled and neatly executed with a good sense of the style of his keyboards. His playing in Track 8 is particularly good to listen to.

Matt Clohesy finds a nice line for his bass and although sometimes I found his tuning alongside the guitar was not always entirely happy, he showed good choice of where to put those all too essential fundamental notes.

Jon Wilkan is the ideal Drummer/percussionist for this kind of music.

There are no harsh crashes from cymbals full of rivets or oversized bass drums with hardened pedal devices. However I did wonder if the excellent engineering of Jon Rosenburg and Max Ross may have eliminated any walloping indiscretions.

Torben Waldorf’s compositions are always good enough for the musicians to get their teeth into when it comes to solos, and as a guitar player, he too must have done a lot of practice before taking his technique into improvisation. Generally the music goes somewhere and there is minimum meandering in this quietly purposeful playing.

I was curious about track 8.

Was this the "Skyliner" that used to terrify small, local, live bands in bygone days when requested by Kenton enthusiasts?

No, it was not. It is an original composition that moves along beautifully overlaid by some multi rhythms. It offered many of the same challenges as its original namesake and the musicians all made the most of their opportunities. The descending scale that keeps coming back never sounded forced or corny, which was a tribute to judgment and taste.

All the tracks on this CD have something to offer and it is good Jazz even if it gets a shade mechanical now and again as the musicians feel for their next big phrases.

But why on track 6 are the soli written by Joel Miller?

They must be the very devil to read and this calls into question,

"Are written solos Jazz?"

Followed by the purists’ retort,

"If it isn’t a live improvisation, it’s not jazz"

And this CD reviewer’s reply,

"It sounded like Jazz to me, but then I can’t see what is going on and I would like to hear this group live."

Adrienne Fox

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