Joanne Brackeen

Pink Elephant Magic

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Joanne Brackeen's 22nd recording as a leader, this CD is one of her best overall recordings due to the high-quality material, the unpredictable arrangements, the variety, and the exciting and inventive solos by the pianist and her sidemen. Brackeen creates a tender version of Dave Brubeck's "Strange Meadowlark" unaccompanied, uses bassist John Patitucci and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on of all the other selections, and is joined by trumpeter Nicholas Payton on three songs and Chris Potter (on tenor and soprano) on those three plus one other. In addition, Kurt Elling sings the eccentric "What's Your Choice, Rolls Royce" and soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman is a guest on two numbers. The young giant, Potter, in particular, excels among the supporting cast. All ten selections (seven of which are the leader's originals) have their colorful moments, particularly the whimsical "Pink Elephant Magic," a trio exploration of Jobim's "Wave," the very wide-ranging "Beethoven Meets the Millennium in Spain" and a heated version of "Tico Tico" in 5/4 time. The music is quite unpredictable but joyful and ultimately logical. Highly recommended.

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