Mario Pavone

Dancer's Tales

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A challenging yet inviting session by bassist Mario Pavone, featuring Marty Ehrlich and Thomas Chapin on reeds, Peter McEachern on trombone, Peter Madsen on piano, and Steve Johns on drums. Pavone's writing on this all-original date ranges quite widely, from the bop-oriented "Lunch With Julius" and "Alberta Clipper" to the darker, more unorthodox "Dancers Tales" and "Double Diamond." Superior arranging by Chapin, Ehrlich, and McEachern yields some highly unpredictable sounds from the ensemble. The title track opens the album with an intricate four-part passage, superbly rendered by Chapin; the fact that Chapin and Ehrlich solo on baritone sax and clarinet, respectively, only adds to the tune's surprise. Similarly, Ehrlich's arrangement of "Roma" uses baritone sax and trombone to create astonishing low-register effects, and McEachern's introduction to "Recovery" employs woodwinds in an almost baroque-like fashion. Episodes like these lend the music a newness that is quite refreshing. The improvisation is also consistently gripping (piano virtuoso Madsen is in top form), making the album all the more worth checking out.

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