Søren Lee

Living Now

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Danish guitarist Soren Lee is joined by organist/pianist Jesper Nordenström, double bassist Mads Vinding, and drummer Martin Andersen. Lee is a highly skilled player, but his semi-distorted, growly tone on some tracks is reminiscent of John Scofield to the point of being derivative. In particular, "Living Now" and "Groove Commitment," with their churning, New Orleans-style funk grooves, bring Lee a bit too close to Scofield's signature sound. Mellow jazz pieces like "Silent Beauty," "Grace," and "Kati" find Lee sounding a bit more distinctive, and "New Possibilities" shows what he can do on a blistering, bop-oriented blues. The acoustic ballads -- "When You Are Near," "Ballad for the Soul" (featuring guest Lelo Nika on accordion), and "Freedom in Life" -- are pretty, if a bit vanilla; Nordenström's washy organ pads give them a certain sleepiness. In fact, Nordenström plays very little piano on the record, and one wishes that weren't the case, although the presence of both organ and bass in the same combo has its appeal.

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