Vic Juris

Moonscape

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AllMusic Review by

Vic Juris gained his initial fame for being with Richie Cole's group but this set is in a post-bop rather than bebop style. Actually, there is an impressive amount of variety throughout the program, which starts out with five originals by the leader before the unit (which also includes Dick Oatts on alto, flute and tenor, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jeff Hirshfield) interprets works by Larry Coryell, Billy Strayhorn, Dick Oatts, Jay Anderson and Keith Jarrett. The opening two cuts are both complex ("Vampicide" does not have any set chord patterns) and find Juris using a guitar synthesizer, with which he often displays an echoey sound similar to John Scofield's. "A Song for Kate" is more lyrical; "You Stepped Out" is a tribute of sorts to Lennie Tristano (the chord changes are based on "You Stepped Out of a Dream"); and "Moonscape" is a dreamy, haunting flute/acoustic guitar duet. "Wrong Is Right" and "So Tender" showcase Juris with the trio, while Dick Oatts (who is mostly heard playing alto) switches to tenor for an effective and emotional interpretation of Strayhorn's "Blood Count." The rocking "Folk Blues" and the freely improvised, rather dark "Midnight on the Waterfront" round out the interesting set. Overall, Vic Juris' session is a bit of a departure for the SteepleChase label, which is more closely associated with straight-ahead dates. An intriguing, chance-taking date that largely succeeds.

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