Lynn Baker Quartet

Azure Intention

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Lynne Baker was both a jazz musician and educator for a long time prior to this CD, evidently his belated recording debut as a leader. Accompanied by two graduates of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Denver (pianist Reggie Berg and drummer Paul Mulikin), which he directs, plus Brazilian bassist Bijoux Barbosa, Baker showcases eight compositions written at various points in his career. "Color Line" is a hip opener with dark undertones and a Latin undercurrent, showcasing strong solos all around, including the leader's thoughtful soprano sax. The joyous "Happy New Year" has an engaging Afro-Cuban rhythm with a simple yet infectious theme in a brisk setting, though it is quickly transformed into driving bop, with the leader making a belated entrance on soprano. The brooding "Azure Intention" evolved from Baker's reversing the chord changes to the popular standard "On Green Dolphin Street," creating a haunting song that leaves a lasting impression. Baker's robust tenor sax is showcased in his angular "Spinning" and the tense "Appalachian Shuffle." Lynne Baker deserves to head into the studio on a regular basis on the strengths of Azure Intention.

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