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Joel Penner Sextet: The Church of the Little Black Dog (2006)

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Los Angeles-based trumpeter/flugelhornist Joel Penner is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. His first album, DragonJazz (2001), was well received and resulted in Sea Breeze extending him an invitation to join the label's roster, eventually yielding this recording.

Penner gets off to a fine start with a little big band sound on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," with a much bigger sound than you'd expect from a sextet (actually augmented to a nonet on this recording). Among some of the other highlights are a different tempo on the Bronislau Kaper jazz standard "Invitation," which includes a tasty Doug MacDonald guitar solo. Freddie Hubbard's 1970s hit "Straight Life" serves as a springboard for Michael Rose's tenor sax and Steve Pemberton's drums. "Laura" begins life as a pretty ballad, with Penner stating David Raksin's theme, but shortly the tempo morphs into spirited Latin jazz per M.B. Gordy's percussive heat, in addition to more tenor sax from Rose and guitar from MacDonald. Finally, Joel Penner concludes the track with a torrid solo.

Penner also gets the opportunity to shine on the Rodgers and Hart standard "My Funny Valentine," which includes a shifting time signature. Doug MacDonald contributes an original, "T & G," with another fine guitar solo. The album concludes with a bit of excitement in the group's treatment of Airto Moreira's "Tombo in 7/4," which appropriately features a percussive finale.

Track Listing: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Invitation; Straight Life; Laura, The Windup; My Funny Valentine; T & G; Tombo In 7/4.

Personnel: Joel Penner: trumpet/flugelhorn; Michael Rose: saxophones; Cengiz Yaltkaya: piano; Doug MacDonald: guitar; Bill Ravensberg: bass; Steve Pemberton: drums.

Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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