L.A. Jazz Quartet

Look to the East

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The Los Angeles Jazz Quartet is comprised of guitarist Larry Koonse, Chuck Manning on tenor and soprano, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Kevin Tullius. The music performed by the ensemble on this inexpensively priced CD includes two Koonse originals, four songs apiece by Manning and Oles, and Jerome Kern's "Dearly Beloved." In general, the music swings, the solos fall into the post-bop genre (more advanced than hard bop but still tied to chordal improvisation), and the playing is on a high level. The weak point of the date is the lack of memorable melodies, which gives a certain sameness to the brooding originals despite the different moods and chord changes. Certainly none of the newer tunes are destined to become standards, despite the heat generated during some of the more passionate moments. Koonse emerges as the dominant voice, but Manning gets in some strong solos and Oles and Tullius provide stimulating support. A worthwhile if not quite essential release.

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