Rainmaker's Dance

Uli Lenz

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Rainmaker's Dance Review

by David R. Adler

Rainmaker's Dance is the U.S. breakthrough album for German jazz pianist Uli Lenz. He's joined by two highly sought-after rhythm section players, bassist Ira Coleman and drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, with altoist T.K. Blue (Talib Kibwe) sitting in on three of the 12 tracks. Lenz's playing and writing are often highly complex, but he's no cold technician -- his music is full of personality and wit. He makes a number of widely varying statements on the blues, also borrowing from gospel and Latin while remaining rooted in an advanced post-bop vocabulary. Like his contemporary Kenny Werner, Lenz is capable of dizzying solo flights but is also adept at the use of space, as in "Subway to Vanilla City" and the beautiful ballad "A Perfect Couple." On "Orange Coalition" and the finale, "Little Ostrich," he presents contrasting studies in the use of 5/4 time. In his mid-forties at the time of this pivotal recording, Uli Lenz arrives on the American scene in plenty of time to become a colorful and respected presence.

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