John McNeil

Fortuity

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This CD came about following a one-shot concert by trumpeter John McNeil and alto saxophonist Allan Chase, along with bassist John Sullivan and drummer Eric Thompson. The program of this studio session focuses on McNeil's writing, with plenty of solo space. McNeil's approach to trumpet is lyrical yet deliberately low key. The up-tempo "Lose My Number" is an adventurous blend of post-bop and avant-garde. Chase switches to baritone sax and violist Kate Vincent and flutist Derek Olphy (both guests are multi-tracked to create the sound of a larger group) are added for the lovely "Faun." "The Old Standard," a trio piece omitting Chase, was inspired by "My Shining Hour," though the chord changes of this old chestnut are fleeting at best. Two of the most surprising tracks are pop tunes, including a freewheeling take of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" that only gives itself away as they settle down around the halfway mark; there's also the Beatles' "I Will" heard in a playful Latin arrangement. This superb date is well worth acquiring.

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