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M13: 1 Human, Too Human (2013)

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M13: 1 Human, Too Human Track review of "The Cubist"

How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Chicago-based M13 is a thirteen-piece ensemble that projects a hip, little big band attack featuring many of the region's finest musicians. Led by saxophonist Aaron McEvers whose sprightly horns arrangements are often given a jazz-rock uplift by guitarist Chris Siebold, as the band invokes numerous shades of the jazz vernacular. They lash out into bracing swing vamps, streaked with melodic overtones and triumphant choruses, occasionally injected with moody interludes amid garrulous soloing sprees. McEvers even melds tricky, Zappa-esque time signatures into a few of his original comps.

The ensemble aptly projects a geometric outlook on "The Cubist," which is a piece designed with soul, blues, rock and modern jazz frameworks. They project assorted viewpoints within a flourishing panorama, treated with punchy accents via an often warmhearted, but forceful plan of attack. Keyboardist Paul Mutzabaugh's oscillating organ phrasings add a broad plane underneath the horns layered thematic constructions, leading to a yearning melody line, incited by Corbin Andrick's swirling sax parts and trumpeter Brian Schwab's sky-high solo jaunt. The band's resourcefulness shines through with prismatic aplomb as they close the piece with a gregarious straight-four rock groove. Overall, McEver's rather modish arrangements instill a nouveau schematic that upholds a great deal of interest on subsequent listens.

Personnel: Tracks 1, 3, 6, 7 — B.J. Levy: trumpet; B.J. Cord: trumpet; Scott Anderson: trumpet; Ryan Shultz: bass trumpet; Aaron McEvers, Dan Nicholson, Todd Boyce, Nick Moran: saxophones; Steve Duncan: trombone; Chris Siebold: guitar; Paul Mutzabaugh: keyboard; Tim Fox: bass; Rick Vitek: drums. Tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 — B.J. Cord: trumpet; Brian Schwab: trumpet; Scott Anderson: trumpet; Ryan Shultz: bass trumpet; Aaron McEvers, Corbin Andrick, Todd Boyce, Mark Hiebert: saxophones; Steve Duncan: trombone; Chris Siebold: guitar; Paul Mutzabaugh: keyboard; Tim Fox: bass; Tom Hipskind: drums.

Record Label: Blujazz Productions


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