The N.Y. Hardbop Quintet

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A casual listen to some of the music on this CD may cause one to believe that it is a previously unissued Blue Note date by Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley, except that much of the material is new and the musicians do not really sound like exact duplicates of the early hard bop greats. Very much living up to their group name, the fine players (tenorman Jerry Weldon, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Bim Strasberg and veteran drummer Mickey Roker) are quite creative within the older genre, much of which falls into the 1955-60 period (with occasional nods toward the mid-'60s). Performing six originals plus a lyrical "More than You Know" and a reharmonized "East of the Sun" on their third release, the members of the quintet take consistently swinging solos and the spontaneous-sounding ensembles are quite clean and exciting. Whether it be the boogaloo "Little Jake" (which finds Weldon hinting at Stanley Turrentine), a jazz waltz ("The Hip Naz") or the uptempo "Waat" (based on "The Way You Look Tonight"), this set has many fine moments and is well worth searching for by straightahead jazz fans.

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