Rob Thorsen / Rob Thorsen Quartet


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West Coast bassist Rob Thorsen's third CD features a mix of standards, classic jazz compositions, infrequently played gems, and four superb originals. Accompanied by pianist Mike Wofford and either Duncan Moore or Harold Mason on drums, as well as special guests Chuck Manning (tenor sax), Kamau Kenyatta (soprano sax), and Holly Hofmann (flute), Thorsen's approach to each selection is refreshing. The trio interpretation of "Besame Mucho" is highlighted by the leader's mellow arco bass, while "Let's Fall in Love" is heard in an upbeat calypso setting, featuring Manning's dancing sax. Two rarely recorded works by Billy Strayhorn, "The Intimacy of the Blues" and "Drawing Room Blues," merit high praise. Wofford's swinging piano is the center of attention in the former, while the latter song features the leader's intricate pizzicato lines. Thorsen's compositions -- including his playful "Blues Clues," a brief duet with Manning ("Disarry"), the very tense "Sad Guy," and "Would You?" (a delightfully twisted reworking of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n You") -- demonstrate his promise as a composer. Highly recommended.

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