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Howard Britz: Made In Brooklyn (2005)

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Howard Britz: Made In Brooklyn How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Since when has getting four or five musicians together in one place qualified as a "project"? Although that question is a rhetorical one, it does have some bearing upon the music here. In his liner notes Howard Britz refers to the fact that the kind of sessions which make up this disc usually pass unrecorded, and the very informality that is a hallmark of all of them might just have no little bearing upon the success of the music. This in turn might just tell us something about the perils of ignoring informality.

The ground covered on Made in Brooklyn is largely the post bop mainstream, and the fact that compositions by both Coltrane and Ellington are covered in this collection might offer a clear idea of what is on offer. What might not be so obvious, however, is that pieces of Ellingtonia can be put across with what can only be described as Monkian intervals, as on "Mood Indigo." The fact that a Britz original such as "Beauty From Within" holds its own in face of such exalted company suggests that the leader is much more than a bassist, the dependability of whom is never in question.

By a similar token, this disc is tribute also to the fact that it's never a bad idea for musicians to get together. Look for abundant evidence in the work of the central quartet of Britz, Jacques Schwarz-Bart (tenor), Helio Alves (piano), and Terreon Gulley (drums), who seem to know each other's musical personalities inside out. This again works to the listener's advantage, as does the lineup for Kenny Garrett's "Computergy," where Alves drops out to be replaced by Casey Benjamin's potent alto sax.

If indeed there is art to be found in the everyday, then without a doubt we have some manifestation of it here. In the hands of a label for whom marketing is more important than the music it purports to represent, this might well have been put out as some kind of project. As it is the music speaks for itself, and its message is a thoroughly worthwhile one.

Track Listing: Friend Or Foe; Beauty From Within; The Crafty Bitch; Mood Indigo; The Price To Pay; Impressions; Computergy.

Personnel: Howard Britz: bass; Anthony Pinciotti: drums (1-3); Terreon Gulley: drums (4-7); Jacques Schwarz-Bart: tenor saxophone; Casey Benjamin: alto saxophone (7); Helio Alves: piano (1-3,6): James Hurt: piano (5)

Record Label: TeeZee Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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