Rob Ickes

What It Is

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As in 1999's Slide City, Rob Ickes again combines jazz and swing stylings with the more countrified leanings of the dobro. The results are mixed and, at times, meld into a too-smooth combo resembling light jazz. What It Is works best when Ickes loosens up a bit around the instrument's natural inclinations: the way he works the melody on "Killeen," which was inspired by the Texan town, seems to point toward a more string-based effort; a cover of Marc Johnson's "Union Pacific" further iterates Ickes' simpler but no less enjoyable leanings; and "Blues for Sammy," which was written in response to Charlie Parker's Savoy sessions, allows him to stretch out his abilities as a great technician of the instrument.

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