L.A. Jazz Quartet

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In a modern mainstream contemporary fashion, the LAJQ makes music that is at once sensitive and visceral. Tenor saxophonist Chuck Manning and electric guitarist Larry Koonse are the culprits stamping their personalized imprint, while the fine bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and drummer Kevin Tullius round out this very talented ensemble. Band members contribute the bulk material for this solid program. Oleszkiewicz gets the opening salvo on the 15 to eight bar, tenor led/guitar followed, very easy contempo-swing of a "Blues for Old Friends" and the kinetic bopper "Glimpse" with talk backs by Manning and Koonse. Tullius offers his musical love to sweetheart V'ky on the lovely, somber waltz "A Thank You" and pristine, plaintive heartfelt ballad "Tribute," with an intro by the bass, led on by Manning. Koonse's workout "All Things Waltz" combines "All the Things You Are" with quick 6/8 refrains. Standards include a version of "'Round Midnight" that is similar to a mystery-based approach Art Lande's Rubisa Patrol might take. It's beautiful. Bill Evans' "Time Remembered" is very low key, but infused with a unique, charged-up rhythmic inner urgency. The normally balladic "With a Song in My Heart" is a hard bopper, while "Close Your Eyes" has Oleszkiewicz's bass on top of the melody and bridge, with Manning and Koonse adding on sparingly as they merge from relaxed to pressing bop late. A solo guitar section adds even more contrast. If there are sleepers in this predictable jazz world, this is one, and it comes universally and heartily recommended.

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