Matt Balitsaris

An Echoed Smile

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Since most of this CD features the duo of acoustic guitarist Matt Balitsaris (who also plays a bit of electric guitar) and vibraphonist Jeff Berman, and the originals are joined by a tune apiece from Bill Evans and Wayne Shorter, the set is sometimes reminiscent (but not derivative) of a Gary Burton-Ralph Towner set. Dave Liebman adds his soprano to "Nightbird" and "Massacre River," Hearn Gadbois' percussive dumbek helps out on "Canoe Ticket" and "Massacre River," and Guy Klucevsek plays accordion on "Astor." The performances are low in volume and sometimes soothing, but there is also plenty of inner tension and heat, so close listening is rewarded.

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