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Eric Vloeimans: Bitches and Fairy Tales

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans' third album for the Challenge label should raise his standing on the European — and international — jazz scene. It also proves he can hold his own with some tough company: British pianist John Taylor, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Joey Baron.

The 13 original compositions here are mostly quiet, impressionistic sketches that skirt the boundary between mainstream and avant-garde. Vloeimans plays generally quiet-toned, less-is-more trumpet in a Miles mode, but occcasionally busts loose with more esoteric flourishes that suggest adventurous contemporaries like Dave Douglas. While highly melodic and accessible, Vloeimans has a decidely modernist approach that mixes funk and down-home blues with downtown improv, sometimes within a single tune.

The group interplay here is superb, which is hardly a surprise given the caliber of the rhythm section and some of their current and past associations — Taylor with Kenny Wheeler, Johnson with Bill Evans, Baron with Bill Frisell and John Zorn. And all are given ample opportunity to step forward on Vloiemans' spacious compositions. There's some beautiful, thoughtful playing here that should appeal to a wide variety of listeners.

Personnel:

Eric Vloeimans, trumpet; John Taylor, piano; Marc Johnosn, bass; Joey Baron, drums.

Record Label: Challenge Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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