Trombonist Paul Zauner's Soil, which is performed by his Blue Brass septet, is definitely an eccentric and unpredictable CD. The repertoire alternates between jubilant jams and floating ballads, while the music straddles between Abdullah Ibrahim's African-style ensembles and touches of Ray Charles-like R&B. The opener is a good example. Ibrahim's "African Market Place" is a song that deserves to be a standard, and it is given a celebratory treatment by Zauner's group. Their treatment of the music is a bit more adventurous than Ibrahim's, but it retains his feeling until the surprisingly free-form ending. Less successful is Zauner's feature on "Georgia on My Mind," for he seems unsure how witty and free to make his melodic statement. However, most of the performances work well, the occasional bass clarinet solos (taken by either Clemens Salesny or Peter Massink) are excellent, and the music continually keeps one guessing. Soil is well worth checking out.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow