Michel Benita / E_L_B [Erskine/Lê/Benita] / Peter Erskine / Nguyên Lê

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E_L_B Review

by Scott Yanow

Although there is close interplay between the three musicians and drummer Peter Erskine gets top billing, this set is primarily of interest due to the versatility of guitarist Nguyên Lê. Lê's playing ranges from a lazy introspective style similar to Bill Frisell to fiery and rockish improvising. The 11 group originals generally lack any memorable melodies and instead set moods in which the musicians improvise together. Despite the talk of the group being a democracy, Lê is mostly in the lead, with bassist Michel Benita having a fair number of solos and Erskine being in a supportive role. Much of this set is overly sleepy, leaving listeners waiting for something to happen but, despite the high musicianship of the musicians, little does.

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