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Scott Neumann Neu3 Trio: Blessed (2013)

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Scott Neumann Neu3 Trio: Blessed How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As it is written, in the end we will all stand naked before our God. Be it Yahweh, Gitchi Manitou, Sam Walton or, in drummer Scott Neumann's case, Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
, there is no time better than right now to make preparations.

His bags get packed to meet the his maker on Blessed. The denuded state can be referred to, in musical terms, as his stripped-down saxophone/bass/drums trio with saxophonist Michael Blake
Michael Blake
Michael Blake
b.1964
saxophone
(who also plays melodica) and bassist Mark Helias
Mark Helias
Mark Helias

bass, acoustic
. All the requirements are met for a post-bop ceremony. Neumann, who has played with everyone from Woody Herman
Woody Herman
Woody Herman
1913 - 1987
band/orchestra
's big band to Jazz Mandolin Project and Brother Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
1926 - 2001
organ, Hammond B3
, penned eight of the set's ten tracks. His loose, open style favors hip swing and catchy melodies; and it doesn't hurt that he can unbutton each tune with the assurance of Helias' rock-solid timekeeping.

Blake's horns fit nicely into Neu3 Trio's open platform. On "Ebb And Flow," the Ed Blackwell
Ed Blackwell
Ed Blackwell
1929 - 1992
drums
/Old And New Dreams dedication piece, maintains that New Orleans/post-Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
Quartet sound that isat-once unconfined but also built upon its intrinsic swing. Blake, a master of outside playing, always ties loose ends up into coherent statements. He plays with bits of Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
1936 - 1977
reeds
's sound on Roswell Rudd
Roswell Rudd
Roswell Rudd
b.1935
trombone
's "Keep You Heart Right," vocalizing through his tenor and spilling bluesy notes. He switches to soprano for a couple songs: "Ama Dablam," which opens with a modest drum solo before soaring with an Eastern edge; and "Hymn For boB," featuring Helias as cantor, commanding the piece by casting chest reverberations over the brush work of Neumann and Blake's high notes.

Neumann's pieces range from the tarantella-inspired "Garbanzo," with Blake playing melodica, the Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
-inspired bebop of "Blessed" and the funky/folk bluegrass muster, "The Syracusian," that shuffles Americana from the bayou to the Northeast Appalachian Mountains. With Blessed, Neumann's trio makes a worthy pilgrimage to the jazz holy land.

Track Listing: Blessed: Ama Dablam; Keep Your heart Right; Clamba; Blues For RQ; Hymn For boB; Ebb And Flow; Garbanzo; Brothers; The Syracusian.

Personnel: Michael Blake: tenor saxophone; soprano saxophone, melodica; Mark Helias: bass; Scott Neumann: drums.

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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