“Zack In The Box” by Geoff Lapp
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Stained Glass (Elephant Records) by Geoff Lapp
From the freestyle sparkle of "Sunny Rays" to the tightly patterned
swing of "The Party's Over," Stained Glass reflects a wide
spectrum of jazz colours. The album opens with a lighthearted
caprice, glistening with bright, glassy tones that conjure up the
play of sunlight at the edges of freshly-contoured glass. Hues
deepen in Elsa, the Earl Zindars tune which Bill Evans elevated to
jazz standard status. Initiated with a crystalline, Satie-like
intro, the song soon liquefies into a wistful swing. The trio moves
into straight-ahead swing on Richard Rogers' show-tune "With a Song
in My Heart," with fine soloing featured all round as eights and
fours get traded. Up next is a languorous rendition of Billy
Strayhorn's "Day Dream," tinted with smoky brushwork, followed by a
bluesy, minor-key original entitled "Kathy's Waltz." "Yo, Bro,"
another original, returns us to a sunnier palette of primary colours
and rhythms. "The Rose Window" of the album, "Theme for Margret,"
is a song full of complex hues, modulating between mournful and
contemplative, and resolving towards a gospel-laced hint of
spiritual grace. Then along comes the playful "Zak in the Box," a
funky original with a mock-stealthy, Mancini-meets-Horace Silver
theme. "Sweet Lorraine" finds the trio swinging hard once again,
and the disc closes with "The Party's Over," another solidly
swinging standard. Stained Glass
is an apt title for this collection of tunes; melodic lines are
delivered with glassy clarity and chords come shimmering through
with intarsiated precision. It is also an album that leaves lots of
room for the listener to explore perspectives and to evolve personal
interpretations. So sit back and explore how your own moods filter
through the many jazz facets of Stained Glass.
-- Eric Squire
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