Diane Delin

Talking Stick

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The "talking stick" referred to in the album title is, of course, the vernacular for violin bow, which Diane Delin wields in a variety of settings, from a duo with piano to the company of a large string section. The play list also features a large quota of Delin compositions. One, "Reflections," artfully mixes jagged and smooth figures to present a highly listenable piece of music. The hero of this track, and others, is the piano of Dennis Luxion. Another Delin tune is "Only the Moment," with its rather despairing, cynical lyrics almost shouted by Greg Pasenko. But there are several well-known standards for Delin to play with, including "Beautiful Love," done up-tempo with Delin's violin playing against the traps of drummer Tom Hipskind, which is the centerpiece of the performance. The rather large string choir comes into play on "I Can't Get Started," where they lay down an effortlessly played backdrop for the violinist and the quartet. Although very pretty, this track may be somewhat too mawkish for some, even with the quartet's effort to jazz things up. To Delin's credit, she gives an extraordinary amount of space to her fellow musicians, especially Luxion on piano. On an extended solo on her "Reflections," he turns out clusters of notes and ruminative runs based on singular improvisational ideas. The required Latin rhythm is present. Instead of turning to one of the many already in the book, Delin supplies her own with a bouncy "Last Night's Samba." There are a lot of exciting and compelling moments on this album, even with the couple of string-section laden tracks. But Delin's panache coupled with the fine playing from the quartet, especially by Luxion, easily move this release into the recommended category.

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