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CD/LP/Track Review

The Los Angeles Jazz Quartet: Conversation Piece

By Published: December 1, 1999
“The Los Angeles Jazz Quartet” are experienced and highly skilled jazz musicians who have individually performed or toured with such notables as Brad Mehldau, Lee Konitz, Bily Childs and others. On their latest release, Conversation Piece the Quartet follow up their well-received, Look To The East.

Conversation Piece is all about crafty, well-mannered ensemble work and strong, memorable compositions such as bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz’ soft, lightly swinging and harmonious –“Blues For Old Friends” or drummer Kevin Tullius’ delicate and stirring ballad titled, “Tribute”. On these pieces, the men display sure-handed control of their instruments while making every note count, in a majestic sort of way. The quartet elicit images of a smoky jazz club in the wee hours of the morning with their humble rendition of Monk’s “Round Midnight” while they swing through a variation of a waltz on Larry Koonse’ aptly titled composition, “All Things Waltz”. Here, Koonse displays his acute artistry of jazz guitar as he comps along with the slick, yet driving rhythms also featuring a fine bass solo by Darek Oleszkiewicz. The Quartet wind down on a somber note with Tullius' composition, “A Thank You”.

Simply put, “The Los Angeles Jazz Quartet” get down to the basics yet add an indelible mark through quietly invigorating ensemble work, memorable compositions and an overwhelming sense of unity and focus...... Good jazz with a distinctive edge! * * *

Personnel:

Chuck Manning; Tenor Saxophone: Larry Koonse; Guitar: Darek

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream



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