David Wertman

NorthCountry Pie

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It must have been some blueberry pie! Not only does its caricature make the cover, but the name of the recording alludes to the pastry, and it is mentioned throughout by the participants as an inspiration to the playing. The results are a solid, usually inspired performance, restricted only by the imaginations of the musicians and the limited number of instruments. Charlie Kohlhase makes up for the latter by blowing three kinds of saxes, but even so there are times when the common format of sax, bass, and drums gets a tad wearying. For the most part, though, this comes across as a mostly muscular blowing session, with long, focused solos that are sometimes exciting and even thrilling. Longtime CIMP contributor Lou Grassi is splendid on drums, as he is the sort of nuanced player who seems to always have something new to say. Kohlhase's fiery saxes rely less on pyrotechnics than on the sort of meat 'n' potatoes solid facility that is his trademark. He is probably most impressive on bari sax, where his big tone does not diminish his fluidity. David Wertman is a lesser-known voice, and although his name is listed first and he contributed most of the compositions, this seems to be largely a group effort with everyone contributing equally to the performances.

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