Mark Zubek

Horse with a Broken Leg

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On this album, bassist Mark Zubek gets a remarkably fat, woody sound from his instrument, making his interactions with drummer Chander Sardjoe very forceful and fun to listen to. Zubek's ensemble, moreover, is configured perfectly for the wide-open contours of his rhythmically charged writing. Five of the seven tracks feature Zubek and Sardjoe in the company of three horns: Philippe Thomas on trumpet and Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek on tenor saxophones. Mark Turner replaces both Blake and Cheek on the remaining two tracks. Zubek crafts beautiful intersecting lines for his horn players, especially on the twin tunes "Yes Yes," a slow 7/4 groove, and "No No," a mirage-like blend of 3/4 and 4/4. Indeed, odd meters are not a problem for this band; they make the ten of "Low Down" and the five of "2513" feel as natural as anything. Philippe Thomas, a fine soloist, makes his compositional prowess clear on "Petite Rosalie." To conclude the album, Zubek and company have fun with a subdued yet engaging version of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression." Amid all the fine playing and writing, the ear keeps coming back to Zubek's thick-sounding bass and its sturdy alliance with Sardjoe's drums. Listen to the abstractly funky title track, "Horse With a Broken Leg," for a particularly clear example.

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