Graham Breedlove

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The musicians on this set are not very well known (trombonist Matt Niess comes the closest to being a recognizable name), but they are technically impressive and quite creative within the boundaries of hard bop. In fact, this sextet (baritonist Dave Brown is only on the closing number) often sounds like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers while not directly copying its musical predecessor. "Grant Street" is a driving piece with excellent trumpet playing from Graham Breedlove. Other highlights include the modal piece "Perseverance," the rapid blues "Buhaina," a ballad feature for Breedlove ("Inner Beauty"), a melancholy "The Messenger," and the jubilant closer, "Festival Time in the Ville." Breedlove, the fluent Niess, and saxophonist Joseph Henson are all particularly impressive soloists and they form a solid group sound. This release is well worth searching for.

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