New York Jazz Quartet

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During its ten years of existence between 1972 and 1982, the New York Jazz Quartet went through a number of personnel changes, though the one constant was founder Roland Hanna at the piano. This 1977 studio session includes Frank Wess, George Mraz, and a somewhat obscure drummer, Richard Pratt, who evidently didn't record many jazz sessions at all during his rather brief musical career. Like many of the group's efforts, this album sticks exclusively to originals by the band. Wess' flute is the focus of the hard-driving title track, and another of his compositions, the gorgeous ballad "Placitude," features the veteran playing alto flute in alternate choruses with Hanna. The leader contributed the funky "Big Band Henry" and the brisk post-bop "Tee Piece," the latter featuring Wess' hard-blowing tenor sax. The individual pieces written by Mraz and Pratt also measure up to those of the front line. Originally recorded for Enja and licensed to Inner City for distribution in the U.S., this since deleted collectible is well worth tracking down.

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