Rein de Graaff

Baritone Explosion!

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What a joy this session is featuring two baritone saxophonists, Ronnie Cuber and Nick Brignola, fronting a fine Dutch rhythm section. More in the nature of a prolonged jam, Cuber and Brignola battle it out over a selection of popular jazz standards, such as Ellington's "Caravan," Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," and Coltrane's "Blue Train." Cuber's "Crack Down" is somewhat of a letdown considering the all-star quality of the other tunes. The enervating results, though, speak for themselves, with great soloing all around by the saxophonists, who are given plenty of time to stretch. (Three of the tunes are more than 13 minutes long.) Cuber and Brignola are "on" for the duration, with exciting and spirited solos and great interaction. The trio backing the horns is led by the well-known Dutch pianist, Rein De Graaf, the ostensible leader of the session who also organized the group. While the trio seems a touch distant, the playing is perfectly competent. A "must" for admirers of the bari, and a more than decent hard bop jam, Baritone Explosion is great fun and a good example of the power of the big sax.

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