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Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle (2006)

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Virginia Mayhew: Sandan Shuffle How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Virginia Mayhew has a third degree black belt in karate, a level known as sandan. Thus the title of her newest release. The exciting music on Sandan Shuffle is turned around and played with a loquacious spirit, swinging with a delightful sensibility and even shuffling.

Mayhew's tone is deep, dark and flinty. Even as she carves a burnished edge, she pours warmth and emotion into the music. She has a sense of fun too, and she wastes no time in getting that detail into the open. Enter "Sandan Shuffle. The melody grabs the ear, and when Mayhew embarks on her voyage, she makes sure the lure stays. Her tenor romps along and she continues to burn attractive vignettes into the groove before yielding the spotlight to Kenny Wessel. The lyrical guitarist, his phrasing precise and dripping with musicality, adds a captivating voice.

Mayhew lends a stellar presence on "I Get Along Without You Very Well, capturing the ache and pain in her heartfelt soprano saxophone playing. She added "In Walked Bud because there was room on the CD, which was a wise decision. Mayhew blows with controlled abandon. Drummer Victor Jones wraps the piece's momentum in a bevy of colourful splashes; its most energetic moments come when Wessel takes the helm and Harvie S and Jones drive the pace.

Track Listing: Sandan Shuffle; Lets Fall in Love; Now I Know; Spring is Not Here; Jazz-like; I Thought You Loved Me; In Walked Bud; Tenderly; I Get Along Without You Very Well; Monterey Blues.

Personnel: Virginia Mayhew: tenor and soprano saxophones, guiro; Kenny Wessel: guitar; Harvie S: bass; Victor Yahya Jones: drums.

Record Label: Renma Recordings

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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