Hugh Fraser

Red & Blue

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The music by this Canadian quintet holds one's interest throughout. The three main principals play two instruments apiece with Hugh Fraser doubling on trombone (which he plays on four numbers) and piano. Tenor saxophonist Ross Taggart switches to piano on the tunes on which Fraser is on trombone. Campbell Ryga, a skilled altoist whose horn blends well with Fraser's bone, plays soprano on four other tunes. The music is mostly straight-ahead jazz with a few pieces being introspective ballads. Highlights include the opening blues "Thank You Very Much," a celebratory "The Key of Love," Taggart's fiery tenor on "Salsa Nova," and the rapid "Herbildoolya," which is based on rhythm changes. This set is worth exploring.

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