Out of the Blue

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It would be an exaggeration to call Jazz6 an all-star group because none of the members are huge names in the jazz world. But it would not be an exaggeration to say that everyone in this sextet has made noteworthy contributions to Las Vegas' jazz scene. When Out of the Blue was recorded for the Vegas-based TNC Jazz in 2000, all six members of Jazz6 were part of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas -- that is true of trumpeter Rocky Winslow, tenor saxman Marc Solis, and guitarist Joe Lano, as well as pianist Stefan Karlsson (a Swedish immigrant), bassist Tom Warrington, and drummer John Abraham. This acoustic-oriented hard bop/post-bop CD isn't remarkable, but it's decent and satisfying. To their credit, the Las Vegas residents don't inundate listeners with predictable versions of warhorses that jazz fans have heard time and time again. The only track that could honestly be called a standard is "Old Folks"; otherwise, the members of Jazz6 find worthwhile songs that haven't been done to death -- that is, when they aren't embracing original material. And the non-originals that they pick range from guitarist John Scofield's "Eisenhower" and saxman Bob Mintzer's "Re-Re" to Henry Mancini's "Two for the Road." The latter, which isn't one of Mancini's more famous melodies, is the title song of a 1967 movie that starred the late Audrey Hepburn. Had Two for the Road been as big as Breakfast at Tiffany's -- the 1961 romantic comedy that starred Hepburn as the lovably impish Holly Golightly -- perhaps its title song (a gorgeous ballad) would have become a standard. Although Out of the Blue isn't a masterpiece, it is respectable -- and Jazz6 deserves credit for offering some surprises here and there.

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