Ed Calle

In the Zone

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The live set In the Zone features Miami-based saxophonist Ed Calle doing exactly what he does best: unpretentious, smooth mainstream jazz played by a small electric combo. Its six lengthy tracks -- only the Vince Guaraldi-like cool ballad "Mockingbird," one of two originals, runs under ten minutes -- are tightly played, with disciplined and economical solos over effortless, slightly Latin-tinged grooves. The set list is heavy on standards, like the chestnut "Misty," Joe Zawinul's "Young and Fine," and a take on John Coltrane's "Impressions" that's highly respectful to the original. So In the Zone may not be the most adventurous of jazz records, and it's much more likely to appeal to fans of Grover Washington, Jr. than Ornette Coleman, but it's a solid and entertaining record that never condescends to its intended audience or panders to the crossover scene. At a time when the market share of pure jazz dwindles ever more, that's still a fine accomplishment.

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