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Kim Richmond/Clay Jenkins Ensemble: CrossWeave (2004)

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Kim Richmond/Clay Jenkins Ensemble: CrossWeave How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

CrossWeave 's opener, Troubleshooter," drives in on a tight rhythm groove that leads into some clean three horn harmony by trumpeter Clay Jenkins, alto saxophonist Kim Richmond, and tenor sax man Rich Perry, with a sound that harkens back to the classic Blue Note Records days, some of those classic sets by Lee Morgan and Art Blakey. A tight, shining ensemble mode with sharp soloing all around.

CrossWeave is the third disc by the Richmond/Jenkins team, and it acts as a followup of sorts for Richmond's Grammy-nominated big band workout, Refractions, from last year. Richmond and Jenkins lead a sextet this time out, joined by tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, who plays in the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, along with the Eastman Faculty Jazz Trio—Harold Danko on piano, Jeff Campbell, bass, and Rich Thompson, drums—a rhythm team that proves itself a force in its own right on an extended interlude on the disc's second song, "Always With You."

The word "craftsmanship" keeps coming to mind here, everything laid out and executed to perfection—the compositions, arrangements, ensemble and individual musicalities, a small ensemble sound tinted with a rich big band feeling. I can't say I've given pianist Harold Danko a good listen before, but he proves himself here one of those rare musicians who can lay down an understated sparkle in the accompanist's mode and step out with a facinatingly vibrant solo when the occasion arises.

The material includes four Richmond tunes, three by Jenkins, Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now," Ray Noble's "A Touch of Your Lips," and to close the show, a loose-jointed take on Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High."

A top notch set of mainstream sounds.

Track Listing: Troubleshooter, Always With You, Touch of Your Lips, Love is Kind, CrossWeave, Common Denominator, Beachwood, If You Could See Me Now, Groovin' High

Personnel: Clay Jenkins--trumpet; Kim Richmond--alto saxophone; Rich Perry--tenor saxophone; Harold Danko--piano; Jeff Campbell-bass; Rich Thompson--drums


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