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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hashem Assadullahi: Pieces

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Saxophonist Hashem Assadullahi and his core band returned to the studio to release an exceptionally strong sophomore effort with Pieces. The Texas born-Northwest cured-New York-based musician revealed his penchant for melody on his prior release Strange Neighbor (8bells, 2009). Here he builds upon that foundation with a scattering of themes from pop tunes, avant-garde leanings, and some deftly orchestrated group improvisations. Assadullahi's returning partners here are guitarist Justin Morell and trumpeter Ron Miles, who yearly receives the “artist deserving wider recognition" award for his playing. The saxophonist augments Tyler Abbott (bass) and Ryan Biesack (drums) with pianist James ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Hashem Assadullahi Quintet: Strange Neighbor

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Oregon-based musician and educator Hashem Assadullahi introduces a wealth of attention-grabbing points of view into this quintet date, featuring eminent trumpeter Ron Miles. It's a democratic, group-focused modus operandi, spinning with variable harmonic and rhythmic underpinnings, where Assadullahi is more concerned with compositional depth and use of space. Still, the soloists receive ample breathing room to improvise and engage in thematic expansion.

On “Hypothesis B--The Wildflower," the quintet merges a sense of quietude via Justin Morell's simple guitar chords atop warm and layered horns, dappled with drummer Jason Palmer's accenting cymbal swashes. Here and throughout, the musicians render ...



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