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Bebop Spoken There

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

CD Review: Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict - It's All About The Groove

Jeff Benedict (alt); Dave Askren (gtr); John Belzaguy (bs); Ramon Banda (dms).
(Review by Lance)
Cool but not in a sanitised way, rather more of a groove which is what this albums all about. It's All About The Groove is a delicious mix of standards and originals by two great players supported by another two top notchers. Benedict's alto has a bright post Parker fluency that gets the enigmatic Nature Boy - even without words it's an enigmatic tune! - up and running, the enigma solved! Askren, is a lyrical guitarist. The pair combine to make Old Folks work over a Kansas City shuffle beat - now that's a groover's groove if ever there was one!
Monk's Mood is an artwork in balladry. Benedict soulful and sonorous, Askren expanding Monk's harmonic concept, making each chord, each solo flight another pastel to an already rich tapestry. Like Friends, based on Just friends, not surprisingly brings Bird to mind and the alto soars above the guitar like an eagle whilst the rhythm boys lay down a, quote: " funky half time swing groove" if you say so. Speak Low - swingin' up tempo - perfect for these guys who trade '8's with Banda before taking it out with such a relaxed swing it's impossible to credit how they can be so laid back and still play more notes than a racecourse bookie has in his satchel.
McCannism is dedicated to jazz soul master Les McCann. Captures the idiom perfectly. You Stepped Out of a Dream is straightforward swing that has everyone soloing whilst While We're Young is a delightful jazz waltz with the alto reminding us what a great tune this is - but then again, most of Alec Wilder's are!
Finally, the curiously titled, The Weather is Here, Wish you were Beautiful, a boppy up-tempo original by Benedict who lays down some post Charlie Christian lines before Banda boots it on its way.
A disc that should be everyone's playlist.
Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict - It's All About The Groove is available on the DaWay Music label.
Sound Samples.
Lance. 

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