Neal Kirkwood


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Pianist Neil Kirkwood has a knack for selecting outstanding sidemen. Unlike his Octet, this group (which he calls the Chromatic Persuaders) uses no horns, but relies on the bittersweet violin of virtuoso violinist Mark Feldman to carry the melodies, while longtime cohorts drummer Tom Rainey and bassist Lindsey Horner join the pianist in support. Kirkwood wrote most of the tunes, which twist and turn to good effect. The individual soloing is superb, as Feldman, in particular, is given much time to stretch and display his magnificent technique. Kirkwood's playing is modest, but substantial, though little of it is especially memorable. Rainey is always an impressive drummer, and his complex rhythms are a joy to hear. The different styles on this recording are impressive, though they lead to a slight lack of focus.

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