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Luke Sellick: Alchemist

Roger Farbey By

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Raised in Winnipeg, but currently a resident of New York City, Luke Sellick's debut album represents an auspicious beginning to this Juilliard School educated bassist. He gained a scholarship in 2012 to join the prestigious Juilliard, for which he gained a scholarship and was mentored for his Masters degree by the legendary virtuoso Ron Carter. He now works regularly with the likes of Johnny O'Neal, Jimmy Greene, Orrin Evans, and Russell Malone. Tenorist Greene plays on three tracks on the album along with a clutch of talented musicians including pianist Adam Birnbaum and drummer Jimmy Macbride.

The stately fanfare-like short opener "Prelude" gives way to a further eight engaging tracks. "Q-Tippin" is a breezy piece adorned by some McCoy Tyner-esque broad piano chords and luscious tenor from Jimmy Greene. Following the slow-burning "Brothers," which includes a solid Sellick solo, and the anthemic "Hymn," with elegant contributions from Adam Birnbaum and Jimmy Greene, the tempo is raised to a medium-paced with the title track and some solid, engaging guitar from Andrew Renfroe replete with some uplifting ensemble arrangement.

"Dog Days" sports another resonant solo from Sellick and "Abacus" is a gentle paean to the great Coltrane, featuring Mat Jodrell on searching, soaring trumpet whilst "Uptown!" hears from Andrew Renfroe leading the upbeat melody. The set closes with "Home," the title of which refers to Sellick's Canadian upbringing, its main theme, initially introduced by Benny Benack III, is gradually taken-up by the ensemble, and is redolent of some of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's tunes at his most soulful. This is an enjoyable album of well-crafted, all original tunes by a skilled young bassist and composer, of whom we'll likely hear more.

Track Listing: Prelude; Q-Tippin; Brothers; Hymn; The Alchemist; Dog Days; Abacus; Uptown!; Home.

Personnel: Luke Sellick: double bass; Jimmy Greene: tenor saxophone (2,4 & 6); Jordan Pettay: alto saxophone (1,3,5,7,9); Benny Benack III: trumpet (1,3,5,9); Mat Jodrell: trumpet (2,7); Adam Birnbaum: piano; Andrew Renfroe: guitar; Kush Abadey: drums (2,4,6,7,8); Jimmy Macbride: drums (1,3,5,9); Andrew Gutauskas: bass clarinet (1).

Title: Alchemist | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Cellar Live


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