Steve Cohn

Bridge Over the X-Stream

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Steve Cohn's recordings as a leader are rare, but he seems to have a knack for attracting some of the best players in the world of avant-garde jazz. Here, too, his quartet consists of Cohn on piano and assorted miscellaneous instruments (shakuhachi, hichiriki, shofar, and percussion); Reggie Workman on bass (and percussion); Jason Hwang on violin; and Tom Varner on French horn. With colleagues of that caliber, expectations run high. While there is much good playing throughout, particularly from Varner, there is a vague feeling that the totality is a bit amorphous, and that the focus is not as strong as it could be. The six pieces, with titles such as "Don't Stand up If You Can't Sit Down," are generally devoid of humor and tend to ramble. Cohn's arrangements are broad and sweeping, like an artist with a huge canvas and lots of quality paint. It is too bad it doesn't all maintain its peak, which, while esoteric, can be quite good.

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