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Craig Buhler: Capistrano Sessions (2007)

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

Welcome to the West Coast, and welcome to some buoyant cool jazz on Capistrano Sessions. Multiple reedist Craig Buhler (clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones) takes us on a "trip along the Pacific Coast" on this recording. This quintet outing fits the mold of fellow West Coaster Art Pepper's sound, though Buhler and his mates have perhaps a more upbeat, outgoing and slightly less intense approach.

This disc of all original material opens with a zingy, swinging "Lookear," where Buhler blows alto; and, as on all three of the axes he wields here, his sound is distinctive: warm and open, with a hint of blur around its edges. On "Capistrano," Buhler breaks out the clarinet, and trumpeter/flugelhornist Brian Atkinson goes mallet man, playing vibes to give the tune a gleaming bounce. "October," one of the more introspective moments of the set, features Buhler playing a soulful tenor sax with a deep, rich tone.

"Molly Ann" sounds as if it could have been titled "Maria Anna." It's got a fine Latin vibe—Buhler scorches the air waves on saxophone, and Brian Atkinson blows a loose, relaxed trumpet solo.

Buhler switches horns and Bran Atkinson comes in on vibes here and there. As a result, the vibrant mainstram sounds on Capistrano Sessions—leaning toward the West Coast—stay crisp and gregarious. Craig Buhler and company wear their jazz joy on their sleeves.


Track Listing: Lookear; Capistrano; Rivers; October; Paris Buffet; Himilayan; Migration; Molly ann; Quiet Passion; Madrid Session; Harbor Cafe Blues.

Personnel: Craig Buhler: clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Brian Atkinson:vtrumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Witham: piano; Joel Hamilton: bass; Paul Kreibich: drums, percussion.

Record Label: Discernment Music

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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