Marty Ehrlich

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Long considered one of the finest and most distinctive soloists in progressive jazz, multi-woodwind expert Marty Ehrlich melds charm and eloquence with hard-edged inflections on this 2001 release. Supported by a notable rhythm section, Ehrlich's compositional wares come to the forefront on these often endearing and sometimes rambunctious arrangements. Trombonist extraordinaire Ray Anderson performs on the bluesy and often boisterous piece titled "Blue Boye's Blues," as the band also minces delicately performed interludes with power-packed choruses. Many of these works feature the quartet's fiery swing vamps and climactically engineered undercurrents, especially when pianist Uri Caine peppers the groove with well-placed block chords. The musicians also engage in mid-tempo bop-ish swing vamps, where Ehrlich and Caine expound upon sublime themes via soul-searching lines. When viewed upon as a whole, this effort leans a bit toward a mainstream-type approach. However, those familiar with the artist's impressive and altogether multifaceted body of work should welcome this outing with open arms. Recommended.

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