Joel Chassan

Joel Chassan Natural Three: Jazz Mirage

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AllMusic Review by

Drummer Joel Chassan's CD draws from three separate studio sessions with two different groups. The music selected is a mix of familiar tunes with a few gems that have unjustly fallen out of favor. The potent workout of Gigi Gryce's hard bop masterpiece "Minority" has choice solos by guitarist Ed Maceachen, alto saxophonist David Bixler, pianist Cecilia Coleman, and the leader. Trumpeter Jason Berg, bassist Thomas Bramerie, and guitarist Ethan Mann join Chassan for the lovely ballad "A Child Is Born," which is played in waltz time, though the interpretation of another standard, "What's New," has some rough spots and would have benefited from one more take. The remainder of the CD features the same musicians as "Minority," though Bixler sits out the brisk, playful take of "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead." Everyone who ventures into Miles Davis' "Nardis" invites comparison to pianist Bill Evans' numerous recordings of it, but this compelling interpretation stands easily on its own merits. "Blue Pearl" is not one of Bud Powell's better-known tunes, but Chassan's extended Latin-tinged percussion solo brings a new dimension to this overlooked gem, with some soulful playing by Bixler. Coleman contributed the loping but intense post-bop vehicle "Seven Pastures." In addition, the leader plays unaccompanied percussion on two brief tracks. This excellent CD is well worth acquiring.

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