John Jensen

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Trombonist John Jensen, an accomplished sideman, makes his debut as a leader with a lively set of standards (save for the improvised "Blues Among Friends"). Fluid and expressive on his instrument, Jensen is backed by a highly capable ensemble, with pianist Hod O'Brien his main accompanist and soloing partner. Bassist Steve Gilmore (of Phil Woods Quintet fame) and drummer Brooks Tegler provide rhythmic backbone; Steve Abshire adds chugging guitar and is particularly effective on drumless, trad-style readings of "Exactly Like You" and "Alone Together." "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" gets an unusual bossa treatment (add Seguito Turner on percussion), "I Thought About You" appears as a waltz, and "In a Sentimental Mood" finds Jensen, accompanied only by Gilmore's bass, overdubbing a second trombone track for a bit of plunger/non-plunger dialogue. During solos, fleeting references to "Lady Be Good," "Glocca Morra," and Billy Strayhorn's "Rain Check" (to name but a few) keep one's ears all the more engaged.

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