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Mark Weinstein scored a Best Latin Jazz Flautist honor for Con Alma (Jazzheads, 2007). To follow that up, he turns to bebop with Straight, No Chaser, a mix of original and cover tunes, including some composed by such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk.
Weinstein was a trombonist and composer for many years, performing with Chick Corea, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Lionel Hampton and many others. He later evolved to flute and has included post-bebop, Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian styles in his repertoire. Accompanied by Dave Stryker on guitars, Ed Howard on bass and Victor Lewis on drums, the flutist side of Weinstein comes through on Straight, No Chaser.
Weinstein and Stryker are out front on the upbeat "Loverin'" one of three Weinstein compositions on this album. The two share a fast-paced, stop-time melody before Stryker shifts to rhythm while the flutist leads. The pace becomes a bit laid-back on the front end of the guitar solo. Throughout, Lewis displays some deft work on the snare.
Weinstein's "Blues for Janice" is an easy-going track which features Howard a little more prominently. Lewis mixes it up with the cymbals and snare. Weinstein enjoys a free-spirited lead before Stryker comes in with a mellow, Lee RitenourmeetsWes Montgomery solo.
The arrangement of Sonny Rollins' "Airegin" does justice to the original without sounding trite. With Stryker, Howard and Lewis setting the pace, Weinstein delivers another invigorating solo. With bass and drums free styling in the background, Stryker adds his own touch.
A fine trombonist in his early years, the switch to flute has paid off for Weinstein. His style, at times, is reminiscent of Herbie Mann, with whom he once played. Strong songwriting and fresh arrangements, combined with excellent performances by the leader and his sidemen, put Straight, No Chaser in the same class as Con Alma and other Weinstein recordings.
Track Listing: Loverin'; Miyako; Blues for Janice; Airegin; Shanti; Sleeping Beauty; Invitation; Violets for Your Furs; Straight, No Chaser; Crianza.
Personnel: Mark Weinstein: flutes; Dave Stryker: guitars; Ed Howard: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.