Hank Roberts

Black Pastels

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One of the top jazz cellists of the 1980s and 1990s, Hank Roberts performs eight of his spirited originals on this set which was his debut as a leader. Roberts, who also plays a bit of classical 12-string guitar and what is called a "jazz-a-phone fiddle" (a one-string violin that was modified so the sound came out of a tube put in his mouth), is joined by altoist Tim Berne; the trombones of Ray Anderson, Robin Eubanks and Dave Taylor; guitarist Bill Frisell; drummer Joey Baron; and (on one song) bassist Mark Dresser. The music is as eccentric as one would expect from this personnel and full of spirit, particularly "Granpappy's Barn Dance Death Dance." Recommended to open-eared listeners who have a strong sense of humor.

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