Mike Freeman

Wiggle Stomp

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    8
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This is Mike Freeman's second album and features a program of his compositions. He shows much dexterity in his composing skills, successfully addressing a variety of styles with special attention given to Latin and Brazilian jazz and calypso. Freeman not only plays the vibes, but the marimba as well, the latter reserved for calypso. If the picture on the album is accurate, he uses the four mallets getting a crisp, clean sound from the vibes. The musical program is one of contrasts. A pensive, laid-back "Rain" has Freeman's vibes and the Ernie Waits-like tenor sax of Dave Peterson trading choruses, with veteran bassist Harvie Swartz providing a solid foundation. At times, there is an element of seamless smooth jazz, built into some of the work which can be wearing. Absent dynamics and the unrelenting, unchanging beat of drummer Ed Uribe on such tunes as "Jasper" can be tedious. But there are plenty of lively moments as with an exciting, driving calypso, "Glow Fuel." "Omaha Freeload" is hanging-out music, relaxed, with a medium tempo that keeps the atmosphere nice and cool. To accommodate Generation Xer's, "Last Wave" incorporates some recording scratching, or something that sounds like it, employed by the rappers. Wiggle Stomp has achieved considerable public acclaim. It made the Gavin Jazz Radio charts and the Gavin Adult Alternative charts. It's the last piece of information that may make some jazz fans hesitate before picking up the CD. But unlike many albums in that category, Freeman's undertaking has a flair for melodic creativity and colorful instrumentation and rhythmic bounce which will make it an attractive addition to the collection.

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