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Mike Tucker: Collage (2006)

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Mike Tucker: Collage How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

New England tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker leads his quartet in a modern mainstream session of original compositions on Collage. "Bird Lives, a slow ballad by Billy Drewes, serves as the album's lone exception. Trumpeter Eric Bloom sits in on the opening "Fanfare, which sets the tone for the album with a modicum of excitement and plenty of groove.

Tucker prefers to honor the jazz tradition through his original work, but through quiet reflection and lyrical melodies. "Kathy finds the quartet oozing melodic refrains with ample space inside, while "The Hey Man Tenor Club sparkles with a driving force and rhythmic propulsion. "70's follows, with a coloring of electric piano to let the quartet chill out with appropriate mood music. Tucker's tenor persuades with a soothing texture that draws his cohesive quartet together into one unified spirit. Unlike your typical collage, where the pieces can be visibly identified, Tucker's Collage is glued together with seamless partnership and a mellow aura.

New Orleans rocks with a genuine Crescent City atmosphere, "Double Mambo provides a hearty Latin jazz celebration, and "Mbira closes the album with a dreamy sequence that builds higher and higher, searching for a sequel. Tucker's "Space Suite, in three movements, adds tension to Collage with a fascinating progressive edge. Ripples abound, and the scene shifts rapidly from one planet to the next. The tenor saxophonist and his quartet explore modern jazz from the inside out, providing waves that fit comfortably into our frame of reference, while evidencing plenty of room for growth.

Track Listing: Fanfare; Kathy; The Hey Man Tenor Club; 70s; New Orleans; Bird Lives; Double Mambo; Space Suite (Space #1; Space #2; Mbira).

Personnel: Mike Tucker: tenor saxophone; Eric Bloom: trumpet; Leo Genovese: piano, electric piano, synth; Hogyu Hwang: bass; Lee Fish: drums, percussion.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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