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Tim O'Dell & Tatsu Aoki: Ancient Pines

Jim Santella By

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Through their spirited duo session, saxophonist Tim O'Dell and bassist Tatsu Aoki create a lovely chamber jazz atmosphere. They swing, experiment, solo comfortably, swing some more, and interpret this program of original compositions with creative passion. The arrangement of this true duo session allows each artist to step forward and contribute on an equal basis. Aoki bows his instrument and plucks with a lively rhythmic groove, while O'Dell soars lyrically with alto and soprano melodic sketches.

"Anticipation" finds the two artists in a musical conversation where call and response carry equal weight. O'Dell's alto wails mournfully with seamless phrases that belie his emotional designs. Much of the album contains the same kind of reflective quality. Carrying a blues foundation and providing plenty of room for spontaneity, the program connects intuitively with his audience.

Aoki parallels the saxophonist's refrains much of the time, stretching out only when their musical partnership opens a door for it. His creative energy complements the session with authority. As the duo romps on "Opinions," for example, you can feel the exotic flavors flowing from both directions. O'Dell is all over the place with excitement, while Aoki pumps up the festive mood with a rock-solid rhythmic foundation.

The album's title track, a three-part suite with the trombone sound of Ryan Schultz's bass trumpet factored in, takes us back to the roots of jazz and beyond. Grasping primitive elements and allowing them to take center stage, the trio explores communication from its earliest partnerships. Together, they move through serene landscapes and on to fiery surroundings. They create impressions that let their audience travel through time and space.


Track Listing: Textual; The Drive; Toddler; Anticipation; Rise & Fall; Ancient Pines Suite: (Fanfare/Squirrels; Old Growth; Majestic Perspectives); Come Here; Opinions; You Can't Find Me; Aphelion; Sneaky.

Personnel: Tatsu Aoki: bass; Tim O'Dell: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Ryan Schultz: bass trumpet (6).

Title: Ancient Pines | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Southport Records


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