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Jeff Barash: Bouncin' on 160th Avenue

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For Bouncin' on 160th Avenue, saxophonist Jeff Barash has assembled a strong quartet, and they come out swinging on the title track. When Barash states the melody, the group pulls together, and every player gets a chance to solo. Throughout this disc you hear respect and affection for players like Stan Getz, Joe Pass, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Pat Martino. With these guiding lights as inspiration, Barash and his mates serve up a very personal vision of straight-ahead jazz.

Bouncin' represents Barash's first release as a leader. He takes this opportunity to explore and develop some fine original compositions. The title track leads into "On a Misty Night," a sweet flowing tune with strong work from guitarist Mike Owen. Owen takes the lead on the next cut, "Nationalistic World," with a fiery guitar intro. A moment later, Jeff opens on soprano sax and everyone holds down a solid Latin-tinged groove. Chris Larson takes a funky bass solo while Dave Hitchings holds it all together using every piece in his drum kit. "Oasis" builds from a dreamy arrangement that emphasizes space and razor-sharp timing. Barash plays flute here while Hitchings brushes the tempo along in waltz time. This tune stands out as a high point on the record. "Why Am I Here?" allows everyone to stretch out, and again the drummer shines with a nice opening solo. A quirky turn into saxophone territory adds adventure and surprise to this piece.

The hour plus of sweet and driving jazz on Bouncin' establishes Jeff Barash as a leader whose time has finally come. It will be exciting to hear where he takes his music next.


Title: Bouncin' on 160th Avenue | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz


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