Dave Zoller


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The title of this album, 3x4x3, is the clue to its structure; three different quartets (four musicians each), playing the music of three composers, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, and the leader of these groups, Dallas-based Dave Zoller. This combination lends itself to some very interesting and contrasting musical settings. Monk's sometimes quirky "Misterioso" contrasts with Zoller's more straight ahead, tightly arranged "Medium Rare & Over Easy," with the two Nichols tunes falling musically in between. Zoller's ideas are well expressed in "Bluebonnets," the longest piece on the album at more than nine minutes typifies the Dallas pianist's musical approach. His piano sets out the general direction he wants the music to go and then lets his very good sideman take over. On this tune there is an awesome interplay between Chris McGuire's frenetic soprano sax (which mercifully he keeps on pitch) and Zoller's piano with the tension building to the coda where there is a welcome musical release. Another Zoller tune, "Bossier City," could easily be the soundtrack to a film noir. 3x4x3 takes on the trappings of the '60s Blue Note days when bop and bop tinged blues dominated that label's output. Nothing wrong with that. The sound does not vary much between groups due to the music they have been asked to play. What's important is that all are first rate players and do a first rate job with the music. 3x4x3 is not a ground breaking effort, just boppish jazz, some old and some new, to preserve one's interest in the proceedings.

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