Nate Birkey

The Mennonite

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Trumpet/vocalist Nate Birkey takes a break from playing standards on the progressive The Mennonite. While Birkey does sing and play piano on "What'll I Do" at the end of the set, he otherwise opts for a more contemporary approach akin to mid-'60s Miles Davis and Art Farmer. He starts things off with "The Fool in the Tree," a solid, angular, mid-tempo blues that allows Birkey and tenor saxophonist Justin Claveria to lay down some great diminished lines. Birkey then showcases his gift for writing strong melodies on the Latin-infused "Delirio." Another standout track is pianist James Trotter's atmospheric, minor-key "Prohibition," which is reminiscent of Black Codes-era Wynton Marsalis.

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