Cynthia Mullis

Inside Job

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An album of straightforward jazz from Cynthia Mullis, one of only a handful of capable female jazz instrumentalists on the scene (many opt to be jazz vocalists instead). Here, the Seattle jazzer grooves her way through ten songs; roughly half standards and half original compositions, both from her and from bassist Doug Miller. She switches between emulating John Coltrane in her solos and emulating the bop sax lines when working through a chorus with the group. She can switch from a relatively high-powered Dexter Gordon number to a lighter Billy Strayhorn piece with seeming ease; and does so at the opening of the album (with some notable scatting by Becca Duran). As the album progresses, the group covers the original "Dolores Street" by Mullis, and the title track, "Inside Job," wherein Miller finds time to go on an extended but well worthwhile solo, bowing the bass. After another Miller composition, the group wanders into a Thelonious Monk number and shows surprising sensitivity to the intricacies of rhythm and emptiness presented by the eccentric master; almost getting lost in the territory of free jazz along the way. By the time they emerge from the ethereal piece, they move back into more standard works by Leo Robbin and Harold Ashby; giving the band some room to work within the more conventional realm. After another original number, somewhat reminiscent of Dizzy Gillespie's group work, the album finishes off with a Johnny Mercer song; adding a little more emphasis on the trombone than the rest of the pieces on the album. Overall, Inside Job is quite good. There are countless competing albums within the genre, but OA2 has a habit of finding the more notable players among the sea of local jazz musicians. This one is no exception.

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