Russ Nolan

With You in Mind

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Russ Nolan's second CD as a leader is an impressive meeting with pianist Kenny Werner's trio (bassist Johannes Weidenm├╝ller and drummer Ari Hoenig, focusing primarily on his compelling originals. The leader primarily sticks to tenor sax, with a sound that isn't overly influenced by any one player in particular, while Werner's accomplished, diverse skills at the piano provide plenty of direction for Nolan. "Kilson's Groove," is a funky, insistent opener, followed by the racehorse "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" (which overdubs a few subway sounds at the beginning before launching into a furious post-bop route. Nolan switches to soprano for the unusually constructed "Disheveled Waltz," a melancholy theme that takes unexpected paths. He also plays soprano in the playful Thelonious Monk-flavored "Diatonicus," a breezy, hip tune with plenty of angular lines. The one familiar piece is John Coltrane's "Naima," though Nolan's free-spirited approach takes it in a new direction. Recommended.

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