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JAZZTIMES

by James Marcus

This debut from the Boston-based quartet starts off with "Wagdanz," which establishes a blueprint for the remaining tracks.   That is, drummer Bob Moses and tuba player Marcus Rojas lay down a funky backbeat, Avishai Cohen adds textural noodling on upright bass, and trombonist Mark McGrain takes a lion's share of the solos.  At first the combo is an effective one, bottom-heavy but with plenty of open space between the instruments.  After a while, though, it begins to lose its charm.  The tunes, most of them written by McGrain, tend to sound like variations on each other, and Rojas must have gotten restless pounding out the same tuba riffs for almost an hour.  In addition, the trombonist himself is a solid but uninspiring soloist.  Exceptions to the rule: "The Mist," a mood piece on which the two horns share the theme; and "Trick of the Light," which features some of McGrain's sunniest, most relaxed playing.

 
 

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All content 1995 - 2011 Mark McGrain

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