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Elliott Caine Quintet: Blues From Mars

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File under: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with some variations). Los Angeles trumpeter and bandleader Elliott Caine's fiery third album, Blues From Mars, features a combo that ranges from quartet to septet. At least half of the album reflects the musical world of Blakey: a leader who plays very much in the style of Lee Morgan, a tenor saxophonist who sounds like Benny Golson or a young Wayne Shorter, and catchy bebop tunes ripe with call and response melody lines. All in all, it's a '60s Blue Note time trip!

Caine has established his credentials as an exciting bandleader and soloist on his previous two albums, with leanings towards Afro-Cuban music. Originally from Indianapolis, Caine studied under the well regarded David Baker at Indiana University. His years in Los Angeles have been spent supported many well-known artists from the jazz, Latin and rock world.

The trumpeter's group is augmented by the presence of Brazilian saxophonist Justo Almario (who plays tenor on the opening track), percussionist Munyungo Jackson, and vibraphonist DJ Bonebrake (on three tracks). These additional musicians add musical texture to the group that extends beyond the aforementioned Jazz Messengers mode. In particular, Bonebrake's vibes provide a tasty sense of salsa on "Mambolishus," a tender ballad statement, "After Thought," and a bebop groove on the title tune. Almario's sole appearance on the hot bebop tune "Blues for the Revolution" is quite different from his usual cooler alto playing on previous albums. Caine slows the pace down on two ballads, "After Thought" and the standard "I Thought About You," which featurs a flugelhorn duet with bassist Bill Markus.

Of special note is the use of the theremin and tannerin on the title tune. Is this a first for a jazz recording? Special mention should also be made of the participation of tenor player Carl Randall, punchy pianist John Rangel, and Latin percussionists Inocente Alvarez and Antoine Lavito Dearborn.

Track Listing: Blues for the Revolution; El Nuevo Dia; Peace and Love; La Verdad es la Verdad; After Thought; Blues from Mars; Mambolishus; Fields of Jazz; Outside In; I Thought About You.

Personnel: Elliott Caine: trumpet, flugelhorn; Carl Randall: tenor saxophone; John Rangel: piano; Bill Markus: bass; Kenny Elliott: drums; Munyungo Jackson, Antoine Cayito Dearborn, Inocente Alvarez: congas; DJ Bonebrake: vibraphone; Probyn Gregory: theremin, tannerin; Justo Almario: tenor saxophone; Michael Rose: baritone saxophone.

Title: Blues from Mars | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Rhombus Records

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