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NewYork-based trumpeter/composer Nathan Eklund assembles a fiery, swinging quintet for Coin Flip, his fourth release as a leader and first for Seattle's OA2 Records. The nine track disc is as much a showcase for Eklund's convincing abilities as a composer and arranger as it is for his dynamic trumpet playing.
Eklund demonstrates an immense trumpet tone with technical agility, rooted in the post-bop tradition. Echoes of the late trumpet giants Freddie Hubbard
forge their way through "Triple Shot Espresso" with bebop-driven ferocity, riding along the charged-up swinging pulse of drummer Shawn Baltazor and bassist Kellen Harrison. Countering the caffeine buzz, pianist Steve Myerson
, who plays Fender Rhodes throughout, introduces the luminous ballad "Happy's Sadness" with harmonic warmth. Here, Eklund demonstrates a mature sense of phrasing without the need for cliché.
"Front Lawn" stands out as a compositional highlight with an open-ended form, teetering on a funk-based groove without fully committing. It is this type of rhythmic freedom that leads to some of the more inspired soloing on the disc.
The session comes to a close with the soulful vibe of "Chim's Paradise," a bouncy 5/4 piece with a bass line reminiscent of Miles Davis