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Rob Reddy's Gift Horse: A Hundred Jumping Devils (2006)

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Rob Reddy's Gift Horse: A Hundred Jumping Devils How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Rob Reddy has always been an adventurer in the best sense of the word. He goes out once again here with his Gift Horse group, raking in a different kind of music—not only with the far from usual instrumentation of the band, but also a greater reliance on composition than in the past. Many of the tunes have a hymnal essence, which Reddy converts into glorious music through his arrangements. Adding to the positive, there is a samba and a ballad.

A rich harmonic vein runs through the compositions on A Hundred Jumping Devils. This fact is made immediately apparent, but the first extensive workout which nails it is "The Unnamable, where Mino Cinelu lays the rhythmic spark. Each soloist develops and layers the theme, providing thrust that's different enough to pique interest and then hold it. Reddy gets off first, brushing the jumpy melody with bold strokes, before Mark Taylor adds a buttery take on the French horn. Charlie Burnham deepens the emphasis on the violin with dynamic strokes, leaving the final impact to Reddy, whose alto proclaims the sinew.

The impeccable combination of Brandon Ross on acoustic guitar and Taylor on French horn is evident on the opening statements of "One (for Jef). Taylor takes a linear path on the ballad, with Ross carving intertwining lines. The ensemble swells the body, thickening the texture, and when Reddy fills it with a yearning, deeply-grooved churn, the tension becomes taut and riveting.

The arrangement on "Mark of Sincerity mixes several grooves. There is the hint of a New Orleans funeral march, a mainstream movement and some free enterprise. The magic is that all these aspects blend into a coherent whole.

Reddy has turned in yet another irresistible record with A Hundred Jumping Devils.


Track Listing: Hymn for the Insurrection; The Unnamable; Procession; A Hundred Jumping Devils; Mark of Sincerity; O-Brasil; Gabriels New Horn; Abraham; Solipsism; One (for Jef).

Personnel: Rob Reddy: soprano and alto saxophones; Mark Taylor: French horn; Charlie Burnham: violin; Brandon ross: electric and acoustic guitars; Dom Richards: double bass; Mino Cinelu: percussion.

Record Label: Reddy Music


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