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Thursday, July 17, 2014

CD Review: New York Standards Quartet - The New Straight Ahead.

Tim Armacost (ten/sop); David Beckman (pno); Daiki Yasukagawa (bs); Gene Jackson (dms).
(Review by Lance).
As the name implies, a quartet playing standards. So what's new? I hear you ask. After all, standard playing quartets are a dime a dozen. Well yes they are and no they're not! What I mean by that politician style remark is that, to quote a standard that isn't on the CD, 'Tain't  What You Do It's the Way That You Do It.
Or, to quote the band, "In redesigning familiar songs, we found that we could offer listeners an entry point to the music we present, whilst simultaneously generating the creative energy that comes from exploring new territory."
Sound logic and it works.
Armacost can do lyrical on both horns caressing and embracing a melody. Equally, he can roll up his sleeves and strip the paint off your deck with a blistering chorus or six. Beckman likewise contributes meaningful solos and comps sympathetically. Yasukagawa is outstanding - with Michael Janisch as executive producer - I'd expect nothing less!
From Krupa to Calderazzo drumming is in the Genes - in this case Jackson who carries on the tradition admirably with both power and finesse. In all, the NYSQ are a well matched quartet with the communal feel that only comes from a long term association which, in this case, is over 8 years.
Tunes: Intro (Polkadots); The Maze; It Don't Mean a Thing; When You Wish Upon a Star; Autumn Leaves; Misterioso; Ah-Leu-Cha; Zingaro; Remember; Outro (and Moonbeams).
New York Standards Quartet - The New Straight Ahead available from July 22 on Whirlwind Recordings WR4654.
Lance.

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