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New York United: If I Could Make A Wish (2005)

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

For some time now, Brooklyn's jazz scene has been attractive to both musicians and patrons for its freedom, openness, intimacy, and honesty. Clubs like the Up Over Jazz Café, Sista's Place, and BAMCafé have fostered an atmosphere where the music comes first. The quartet behind If I Could Make a Wish celebrates this environment as it effectively translates to disc the excitement of a live and loose night of burnin' Brooklyn B3.

Ostensibly led by drummer Masahiro Sakuma but calling themselves New York United, tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and B3 player Dan Kostelnik clearly come to play. Wyatt and Harrold mesh especially well and display some very nice in tandem voicings to begin both "Inner Urge and "If, two tunes penned by tenor giant Joe Henderson. Wyatt then kicks out each piece to begin a succession of strong solos by each band member. The tenorist's own two compositions, the forward looking title piece, and the regretful "If Only I had Known are true to their titular intent. The former is an up-tempo hopeful smoker with plenty of B3 grease to go with some prodigious tenor/trumpet chops, while the latter has Wyatt taking a lonely wistful look backward to a Latin beat.

His sax also leads a loungey "Love and a cool "Triste through a few new harmonically interesting positions as Kostelnik and Sakuma provide the cheese for the Gabler/Kaempfert standard and the Brazilian breeze for Jobim's classic. Sakuma can rock at high speed to anchor a big full sound, or work the nooks and crannies with Kostelnik to allow for appealing instrumental explorations. His original "Fourth Set closes out the session and is an appropriate after hours slow dancer that has its composer providing a dreamy backdrop. New York United maintains the immediacy of a live session with a varied program that is heavy on chops and light on pretense.

Track Listing: 1.If I Could Make a Wish 2.Love 3.Inner Urge 4.Triste 5.If 6.If Only I had Known 7.Fourth Set

Personnel: Masahiro Sakuma-drums, Eric Wyatt-tenor sax, Dan Kostelnik-Hammond B-3, Keyon Harrold-trumpet

Record Label: NYU

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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