Jim Cifelli

Tunnel Vision

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The Jim Cifelli New York Nonet's third album doesn't come on quite as strong as 1998's Bullet Trane, which was aptly named both as a tribute to the genius of John Coltrane and as a fast, exhilarating ride through the dimly lit tunnels of modern jazz, but it certainly does have its moments. One of those is Cifelli's "Go," which opens the album with a beautifully constructed head and a whole raft of great solos from such local heroes as saxophonist Joel Frahm, guitarist Pete McCann, and Cifelli himself. The Wayne Shorter medley is also very nice, but things bog down a bit on "Cajun Conniption," which is neither Cajun-sounding nor energetic enough to conjure up images of a conniption, its splayed chord progression sounding more like a Berklee homework assignment than the expression of a jazzman's soul. But Cifelli's brisk take on "What Is This Thing Called Love" brings things quickly back into focus, and the lovely "Cambio de Corazone" showcases another of Cifelli's unique talents: his ability to arrange a nonet so that it sounds uncannily like a band three times that size. The place to start is with Bullet Trane, but those who love that album will find much to enjoy on Tunnel Vision as well.

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