Phillip Strange

In the Moment

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Jazz pianists rarely record entire sessions with a drummer and no bassist, but Phillip Strange's strong left hand make a bassist superfluous in his excursions with drummer Larry Marshall, with whom he had worked for five years, but never in a duo setting. This remarkable date includes Strange's impressive compositions, along with several from the jazz canon and standards from the Great American Songbook, all selected and improvised without preplanning. Nat Adderley's "The Old Country" is transformed into a dark, yet richly textured setting, while his deliciously off-center approach to Paul Desmond's "Take Five" is equally tense. Richard Rodgers' "Have You Met Miss Jones?" starts off as a fairly straight-ahead post-bop arrangement, yet Strange and Marshall break its shackles to take it much farther than most musicians. His lovely "Absinthe" suggests the influence of French impressionists like Maurice Ravel at times, yet it retains a sense of mystery throughout its eight minutes. Marshall's drumming is right on the money on every track, frequently ducking out, often sticking primarily to cymbals and never overplaying. This intriguing recording should boost the careers of both Phillip Strange and Larry Marshall.

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