They generate some heat on “Herr Mann’s Fell’d” as Ellenberger implements a few classical-style yet harmonically inclined chord progressions and climactic melodic development as the rhythm section shift meter, counterbalance the tonalities and provide upbeat “swing” grooves. On “Internal Presence”, Ellenberger is somewhat pensive yet always finds a bright side without becoming overly morose or austere. With “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the trio swing through rich harmonies as Ellenberger remains intently focused upon thematic development yet displays his ingenuity as a lead soloist through well conceived single note leads intermingled with rapid left – right hand voicings. Many of these pieces unfold in a dramatic sense. The trio have a blast with tempi while frequently altering a motif or injecting brief solos, which often conforms to the guts of the composition. The closer, “Far West” is a hybrid swing, ballad – a mover and a shaker featuring prominent themes and memorable melodies as Ellenberger is a master of “manipulating” or toying with melody.
Songs From The Far West is a superb outing as accolades and praise should not stand as a substitute for the thoroughly enjoyable if not mesmerizing listening experience. This one is guaranteed to reside on the top shelf when or if you decide to remove it from your CD player. One of the major surprises of 1999........ Recommended to all! * * * * *
Record Label: a/l/l
Style: Modern Jazz
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