The Claudia Quintet utilize unusual rhythmic patterns, creative repetitions, and such instruments as accordion, vibes, and clarinet to create a dramatic set of music. As much a soundtrack for a nonexistent movie as it is a jazz set, the music on Semi-Formal is quite cinematic, moody, and thoroughly intriguing. Although some of the individual pieces could stand alone, this is very much a 13-song suite, with one selection leading logically if unpredictably to another. In a similar way, the individual musicians, although impressive by themselves, are most important being part of the group sound, adding to the wide variety of tonal colors. Semi-Formal, which will take time to fully appreciate, is well worthy of several listens.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow