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Rich Halley Trio: Mountains and Plains (2005)

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Rich Halley Trio: Mountains and Plains How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With their creative ideas flowing naturally, these three musicians open the windows and doors to cast relaxed impressions. The intensity tucked inside their performance ensures, however, that no part of their program becomes too relaxed. A vibrant quality pervades the session, giving life blood throughout.

Saxophonist Rich Halley communicates with a whispered tone that moans softly like the wind one moment and roars violently like falling rocks the next. The key is spontaneity. He steers his trio through adventures the same way a trailblazer would lead his party over unsettled terrain. Directions change often, and the three veteran artists converse cohesively through a wide array of impressions.

"Mountains and Plains" features Halley's tenor in a swinging romp that gathers no moss. Up-tempo one moment and spiraling the next, his composed piece lets the trio express changing landscapes. Clyde Reed's rapid-fire bass lines push the motion, while Dave Storrs' swirling textures color the trio's interpretation with hues that fill the sky. Together, they rock and they forge their way through an adventurous landscape.

"Three Way Shapes" is a collaborative improvisation that features Halley's soprano. Through this piece and three others, the trio reinvents itself. The artists' three-way conversations light the fires that seduce. "Winter Sky" closes the session with walking bass, ride cymbal, and a serious tenor saxophone look at the way jazz should move you. Halley creates a mood fit for the long winter haul ahead, storing enough great jazz into one small package to last for the duration.

Track Listing: Problematic; Long Valley; The Rub; Before Dawn; Three Way Shapes; Mountains and Plains; Intermountain Rhumba; Distant Peaks; Winter Sky.

Personnel: Rich Halley: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, percussion; Clyde Reed: bass; Dave Storrs: drums, percussion, vocals.

Record Label: Louie Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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