Mike Fahn

Close Your Eyes...and Listen

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    8
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Valve trombonist Mike Fahn delivers a mellow and satisfying set of modern, straight-ahead jazz performances on this album, which features an impressive array of sidemen who shift around throughout the disc, providing a quintet setting on most tracks. The album is appropriately titled: even when the tempos are sprightly, the group's overall vibe is a gentle and soft one, a sound that invites the listener to sit back and enjoy rather than get up and dance. That's partly in the nature of the valve trombone, an instrument that sounds almost as much like a French horn as a slide trombone, but it also seems to be part of Fahn's nature as a leader -- the boppish "Will Call" and the Keith Jarrett composition "Survivor's Suite" both have a similar feel despite their differing speeds, and the gently funky "Heart Forest" sways rather than swings. The sidemen, who include saxophonist Rick Margitza and a fine guitarist named Steve Cardenas, all support the pervasive mood with solos that are interesting without being show-offy, and with a tone that is comforting and smooth. Highly recommended.

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