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Joe DeRose and Amici: Peace Streets (2013)

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Joe DeRose and Amici: Peace Streets How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Drummer Joe DeRose and guitarist Hristo Vitchev seem to be attached at the hip. DeRose was an important presence on Vitchev's Songs For Messambria (First Orbit Sounds, 2009) and The Perperikon Suite (First Orbit Sounds, 2011), and the guitarist is a fixture in this band. Bassist Dan Robbins also appears with both leaders, raising the odds that their respective outfits may sound wholly similar; surprisingly, they don't.

A pristine and poetic aesthetic often surrounds Vitchev's work when his own name is on the album spine, but an edgier, more exuberant form of fusion is dominant on this DeRose date. Moments of reflection do come into focus every now and again, but they're hardly common.

The drummer was a driving force on the aforementioned Vitchev releases, but he held back a bit in service of the songs. Here, he often hits hard and makes no apologies for it. DeRose isn't the only one who lets loose. He's assembled a team that's up to the task of matching his energy. Dann Zinn can deliver ebullient saxophone work worthy of a Saturday Night Live introduction, Vitchev suppresses his sensitive side and lets things rip, Robbins, while bringing peacefulness in certain places provides pulsation in others, and keyboardist Murray Low acts as a form of firm sonic mortar, holding it all in place.

Much of this material finds its strength in solos, not song structures, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Jazz is, after all, all about personalized expression, and DeRose and company deliver in that department throughout Peace Streets.

Track Listing: New Frontiers; So It Is!; Native Son; Native Reprise; In A Moment's Time; After The Storm; Smiles For Miles; Silent Prayer; Just About 8; The Spirit Of The Room; In A Single Breath; Peace Streets.

Personnel: Joe DeRose: drums; Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Dan Zinn: saxophone; Murray Low: keyboards; Dan Robbins: bass.

Record Label: First Orbit Sounds


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