Various Artists

Modern Jazz: A Collection of Seattle's Finest Jazz

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A nice compilation of the lighter and somewhat more mainstream end of the Origin label's growing catalog of Seattle jazzers. With a number of artists represented, the mainstay of the album is a focus with something of a modern bent. There are aspects of post-bop to be heard, and slight references to the third stream set, but far and away, the bulk of the material is based in contemporary instrumental jazz. The piano plays heavily in all or most of the works, using local Seattle (and beyond) notables such as Marc Seales, Clay Giberson, and Whitney Ashe. Saxophones as well play an important part, particularly in the hands of Origin mainstay Mark Taylor. Finally, the drumming is constant, with most of the pieces backed up on the set by label co-founders John Bishop and Matt Jorgensen. With such similarities from track to track, there's a surprising diversity between pieces to be heard, with many partaking in a basic sort of modern jazz outlook, but with others twisting the genre a bit. Hans Teuber makes use of some Brazilian motifs to good effect, and Ben Thomas introduces the vibes into a piece for a much more melodic outcome. The pieces range quite a bit in their stylings, despite the basic accompaniment (and sometimes similar leads taken as well), showcasing quite well what Origin has to offer, which is quality jazz. There are no specific highlights to be had as a result either, with all tracks offering something to be heard, and none sitting as simple filler.

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