Ben Wolfe

No Strangers Here

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Bassist Ben Wolfe's resume as a sideman is extensive, having recorded with Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Carl Allen, and many others. But he is also a valuable leader and composer, as heard on his fifth CD. His core band includes saxophonist Marcus Strickland, pianist Luis Perdomo, and drummer Greg Hutchinson, with a number of guests appearing on select tracks. The tense "The Minnick Rule" adds trumpeter "Terell Stafford" in a performance that suggests a bustling metropolitan setting. Branford Marsalis is featured on soprano sax in the sentimental ballad "Milo" and switches to tenor for the gritty "The Filth," with a string quartet added on both songs. Both the lush ballad "No Strangers Here" and the swaggering "Jackie Mac" incorporate the string quartet as well, the latter showcasing the leader's fine solo. Bass clarinetist Victor Goines is showcased in the warm, haunting "Blue Envy." Recommended.

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