Jay Rosen

Canticles for the New Millennium

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Drummer Jay Rosen assembled an all-star quartet for his debut as a group leader. Performing eight freely improvised numbers, the team immerses itself in the kind of engaging interplay that sometimes leads to wondrous results. Rosen is joined by three strong horn players with whom the drummer has recorded: wily trumpeter Paul Smoker, multi-talented reedist Vinny Golia, and aggressive clarinetist/saxophonist Mark Whitecage. Without piano or bass there is a somewhat hard-edged quality to the sound, but there are great moments of joyous improvisation. Four of the pieces are more than ten minutes long, so there is lots of time to stretch. Rosen takes center stage, with strong, forceful drumming that powers the group. Smoker is a standout, proving once again why he is considered one of the outstanding jazz trumpeters. He can slurp with the best, but also finesse rapid bursts of logical construction. Some of the pieces work better and are more focused than others, but fans of free improv will find moments to treasure.

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