Robin Shier

Suburban Groove

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Trumpeter Robin Shier went about recording his hard bop quintet the correct way, after a tour rather than before. Because he wanted to capture his band sounding the way it played in concert, he had the musicians (Patric Caird on tenor, pianist Miles Black, bassist Rick Kilburn and drummer John Nolan) perform the same seven-song set (six of his originals plus "Skylark") four times and then simply chose the best versions to use on the CD. Although none of the musicians possess strikingly original sounds, they are all strong soloists who can swing without using cliches. Shier's compositions may lack any memorable melodies but they seem to light a fire under the players, resulting in some fiery improvisations and fine straightahead music.

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