Daniel Block

Almost Modern: The Swing to Bop Project

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On Almost Modern, which is subtitled "The Swing to Bop Project," tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Dan Block revives music from the period of time when swing was gradually being replaced by bop. Most of the selections on this CD are from 1944-1947. Block's group with trumpeter Jon-Eric Kellso sometimes pays direct tribute to the Coleman Hawkins 1945 Quintet which featured trumpeter Howard McGhee and pianist Sir Charles Thompson. Even the more boppish pieces such as "I Mean You" and "Dizzy Atmosphere" are played with a swing sensibility. Block has a tone somewhere between Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young and a style that perfectly fits these pieces while Kellso slightly modernizes his approach. The rhythm section swings, Larry Ham mixes together Count Basie and Bud Powell, and guitarist Chris Flory (replaced by Jon Hart on "Ko Ko") takes his share of Charlie Christian-inspired solos. The music pays homage to the past but is creative within the older transitional style. Recommended.

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