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It may seem like an anomaly to suggest that a jazz ensemble has to strip down to power up, but Starlicker does just that. Cornetist Rob Mazurek disassembled his Exploding Star Orchestra (which regularly has more than a dozen players) and Quintet into just a trio, with remaining players, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz
; his own trio CD, Sun Rooms (Delmark, 2010), a stellar showcase of the vibraphonist's composing and dynamic playing.
The first note hits like a steroid-fueled Barry Bonds,as the title track leaves no time for contemplation or soloing. Mazurek wrote these pieces to be dropped without traditional solos, and the trio winds through each piece as a troika, sharing the load. The music often gives the sense that the band is in constant battlenot among themselves, but with the intricacies of each piece. "Andromeda" is hurled forward, not just by Herndon's pulse, but by Adasiewicz's incessant tones and the sputtering charge of Mazurek's cornet. When the trio does ease back on "Triple Hex," the deliberative openingwith Adasiewicz creating simmering tones and Mazurek wandering a worldly Don Cherry