Marty Ehrlich

New York Child

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    8
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Marty Ehrlich's music tends to be both melodic and exploratory, comfortable yet full of unexpected twists and turns. Switching between four reeds on his quintet set (which co-stars the complementary tenor of Stan Strickland in the frontline), Ehrlich emphasizes lyricism and strong themes, expertly setting up improvisations with well-conceived arrangements. The leader's nine originals flow together quite well, so one does not remember individual pieces as much as the friendly atmosphere and attractive colors on a whole. An underrated clarinetist who certainly ranks in the top ten of the 1990s, Ehrlich also displays a fresh musical personality on alto, soprano and bass clarinet, while his notable rhythm section (pianist Michael Cain, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Bill Stewart) is both tight and spontaneous. Together with the fine tenor of Strickland, they create an unclassifiable set of surprisingly accessible modern jazz.

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