Pianist Mark Soskin is widely known for his long time affiliation with tenor sax titan, Sonny Rollins along with numerous session dates for a variety of notable modern jazz artists. However, with only a handful of solo outings to his credit, the pianist steps out in prominent fashion with his latest release, 17 (Seventeen).
Soskin garners enlivening assistance from trumpeter, Tim Hagans and saxophonist Billy Drewes for this set consisting of buoyantly executed medium tempo swing vamps and tuneful choruses, abetted by the pianist's intricate maneuvers and lyrically charged solos. With "Elysian Fields, Soskin renders flailing arpeggios in conjunction with harmonically based block chords and stinging rhythmic accompaniment, as the potent horn section rides the wave via yearning lines and dynamic interplay. "Cliffhanger is all about punchy horn charts atop the soloists' complex unison runs and majestically pronounced themes. Here, Hagans' executes blazing 16th notes, followed by Drewes' beefy tenor work, as the band pulls out the stops, along with drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Jay Anderson's bustling, yet altogether crisply rendered pulse. Other highlights include: A heated spin on Bud Powell's classic, "Un Poco Loco and Soskin's "Lefty , which is a piece overflowing with climactic overtures, extended soloing and cleverly articulated frameworks. Thus, Soskin's latest effort is a stunning success! Vigorously recommended.