One Short Story

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Philadelphia, like other Northern cities, has its share of jazz musicians who keep busy locally but aren't well-known outside of the area. They may not end up recording for Blue Note or Verve, but they keep busy locally -- possibly with a combination of club gigs, teaching, and weddings. This fusion CD, which was recorded in 1995, paints a favorable picture of Philadelphia jazzman Barry Sames. In addition to serving as executive producer, the electric keyboardist/acoustic pianist co-produced One Short Story and wrote or co-wrote five of its eight selections. Insynk wasn't a full-time endeavor for Sames, but rather a project that gave him a chance to exchange ideas with other Philly-area musicians (including tenor saxophonist Tony White, soprano saxophonist Chris Hunter, and bassist Mikail Muwwakkil Sanders). One Short Story won't appeal to jazz purists and bop snobs -- the material is too funky, too rock-influenced, and too electric. And at the same time, it has very little NAC/smooth jazz appeal (which is why NAC radio stations ignored the album). But from a fusion standpoint, One Short Story has a lot to offer. Drawing on such influences as Weather Report, the Yellowjackets, and electric Miles Davis, Sames and his allies make sure that tracks like "Sisoruen Groove" and "Muwwakkil" are full of intrigue. One Short Story may not fit a purist's definition of jazz, but make no mistake, this CD has as much inspired improvising as one would find on a straight-ahead bop date. When Sames and Hunter feel the need to improvise, they don't hold back -- they stretch out and say what they need to. Spontaneity prevails on this enjoyable release, which wasn't a huge seller but illustrated the sort of quality writing, producing, and playing that Sames was capable of.

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