Bob Lark

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Trumpeter/fl├╝gelhornist Bob Lark is equally at home as a jazz educator and in the studio; for this record date, the Chicago native is joined by several old friends, including pianist Jim McNeely, tenor saxophonist Mark Colby, bassist Kelly Sill, and drummer Joel Spencer, all of whom have worked with him on earlier CDs. Lark's infectious "Suggestions" serves as a potent opener with strong solos; his catchy blues "Old School" and adventurous jazz waltz "If Only You Knew" also merit praise. McNeely contributed the challenging "Gracie's Delight." Standards like "You and the Night and the Music" and "Star Eyes" are invigorating workouts for the quintet. Lark switches to the larger horn for his four duets with McNeely, which include a heartfelt "Lover Man," a jubilant "Joy Spring," a poignant arrangement of "A Child Is Born," and a bittersweet take of "All the Way." Bob Lark may not be a major name outside of jazz education, but this excellent CD proves that he is deserving of wider recognition as a player.

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