Mariane Bitran / Makiko Hirabayashi

Grey to Blue

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This quintet, co-led by French flutist Mariane Bitran and Japanese pianist Makiko Hirabayashi, explores colorful post-bop charts by the two musicians. The band includes American tenor saxophonist Bob Rockwell, Swedish bassist Erik Olevik, and Danish drummer Morten Lund. Opening with Bitran's live Afro-Cuban "Looking for Herbert," the match between her upbeat alto flute and Rockwell's soulful tenor works well. Bitran's turbulent post-bop vehicle "Snapshot" suggests the hustle and bustle of a big city.Hirabayashi's "Beauty of Doubt" is a haunting ballad that leaves a lasting impression, then she switches to Chinese wooden flute for her exotic "Fula Flute." Hirabayashi and Rockwell collaborated on the playful "Bugs," which begins in a Raymond Scott-like setting before switching gears into soul-jazz. The session ends with Hirabayashi's gorgeous arrangement of Danish classical composer Carl Nielsen's solemn Tit Er Jeg Glad.

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