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by D.H. Krasnow

Finally, a marching band you can sit down to!  When Plunge hews too closely to the Dirty Dozen's update of New Orleans tradition, it shows itself merely a skillful imitator.  Tubist Marcus Rojas, a veteran of Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus, is deft and light on his lumbering instrument and leader Mark McGrain's bluesy trombone hits the right notes.  But the knockout punch of the true marching outfits lands only a glancing blow in "Wagdanz" or "394."  As Falling With Grace edges away from the Crescent City towards a more modern, contemplative jazz - similar in feel to Chicago's Eight Bold Souls, say - it finds its own theme.  Bob Moses's Cuban-inflected percussion offers a neat counterpoint with Avishai Cohen's staccato bass compensation on the backbeat.  As in Eight Bold Souls, most of the action occurs on the deep end.  The top strings of the bass are the highest notes.   Echoing horns call longingly from faraway mountains, on the final "Running, Running" McGrain blows the obscure Swiss alphorn.  By this point they've come a long way from the bayou.

 
 

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All content 1995 - 2011 Mark McGrain

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