Various Artists

Syncopated Energy: Selections From the Synergy Music Catalog

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This two-CD set has 16 selections taken from the rich catalog of the Synergy label. Unlike most samplers, this one actually is comprised of one highlight after another. The music ranges from hard bop to post-bop, with the music on the first disc generally being straight-ahead while the other selections are a bit more adventurous and contemporary, sometimes sounding like the more energetic side of ECM. Each of the selections features a small group (mostly trios, quartets and quintets) and the musicianship is consistently high. Many of the players are based in Colorado and most are deserving of much greater recognition. Whether it is trumpeter Ron Miles on "Boplicity," organist Pat Bianchi romping on "Night Dreamer," soprano-saxophonist Paul McCandless on "Majestrom Enborum" or any of several appearances by pianist Art Lande, the music is excellent and this sampler will act as a teaser for modern jazz collectors who want to stretch beyond only hearing the most familiar names.

blue highlight denotes track pick