Sam Pilafian

Meltdown

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One thing you can say for sure about tuba player Sam Pilafian: Besides being a perfectionist on his instrument, he's got a wicked sense of humor. For this recording, he invited saxophonist Scott Zimmer and drummer John O'Reilly, Jr. to join him for a romp through an eclectic collection of jazz, classical, and a touch of funk/pop, all filtered through Pilafian's swinging style. There is a wonderful version of Ornette's "Blues Connotation" coupled with two takes of Bartok's "Ruthenian Dance," and double versions of Captain Beefheart's "Dali's Car." While the harmonies are earthy and the trio never lets the music get too abstract, there is some fine soloing, especially from Pilafian and Zimmer, who toots both soprano and alto. A well-rehearsed, thoughtful and fascinating recording, to be sure.

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