Brent Jensen

Stay Cool

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This is an exploration of the cool jazz movement from some 50 years later. Brent Jensen studied for a time under Lee Konitz, and is here accompanied by three quarters of the Acoustic Jazz Quartet (the missing member being guitarist Jamie Findlay). Tenor sax accompaniment is provided by David Sills (a student of Gary Foster) and the songs tend toward the realm of Lennie Tristano (although staying piano-less in full cool jazz mode). The roots of the cool jazz movement are held up by way of a couple of nods to Lester Young in his "Two For Prez," as well as reference to his techniques in "Lady Be Good." A couple of originals by Sills creep in, laying new melodies over chord changes from old standards, as "Deep Sleep" makes use of "You Stepped out of a Dream" and "Where's It At?" uses the changes from "What Is This Thing Called Love." The bulk of the pieces come from the classic of cool jazz: the 1953 meeting of Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, and Chet Baker. One more piece comes directly from Tristano, and Lanny Morgan's "Friends Again" (the impetus for the album) makes an appearance, as well. There isn't a huge amount of exploration beyond the levels set by the old masters here, but the performances are quite good within the capacity to which they aspire. The look back is refreshing in a time when jazz is dominated by smooth, and the players run through the old songs wonderfully. Pick up the old masters of the form first, but add this one to the newer end of the collection.

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