Russ Spiegel

Chimera

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Russ Spiegel's first jazz release for a widely distributed international label is an impressive outing, focusing mostly on his inspired post-bop compositions. The guitarist had played with his musicians at different times over the years, but there was only one rehearsal prior to the recording date, yet the results suggest a working group familiar with the charts. The band includes trumpeter David Smith, saxophonist Arvin Luthra, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, bassist Gary Wang, and drummer Anthony Pinciotti. The sextet opens with the racehorse vehicle "Chimera," following it with "Polychrome World," a bittersweet bossa nova featuring Luthra's soprano sax and the leader's melancholy acoustic guitar. Spiegel's whimsical "Herr Boehnke" is a sauntering, dissonant number that shows influences of Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy, with a great degree of playful spirit throughout. The old warhorse "Cherokee" is played fairly straight-ahead, with Smith and Luthra (on alto sax) providing plenty of fireworks.

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