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Dennis Mitcheltree: Brooklyn

Jim Santella By

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This, Mitcheltree's third release as a leader, shows the tenor saxophonist in fine form with a voice of his own. After graduation from the Berklee School of Music in Boston ten years ago and studying with Joe Lovano, Billy Pierce, and Ralph Lalama, Mitcheltree has grown, of course, but his first influence from listening to John Coltrane recordings still shines through. Based in Brooklyn and performing regularly in the downtown club scene, Mitcheltree's sphere of exposure seems to be due for expansion; more information can be found at http://www.users.nyc.pipeline.com/~dengor/ .

From the start this set offers up modern mainstream from Mitcheltree's round, husky tenor sax with able support from his trio. Drummer McClellan accompanies with seemingly every texture available, and bassist Jesse Crawford soars lyrically each time he steps forward. Each of the eight challenging compositions is from the leader, and his creativity shows up with the use of unique modal harmonies and meters that flip-flop from three to four and back. The expressive title tune seems to represent the daily changes of mood in a town like Brooklyn, from the wee hours through to the rush hours. Changes in the dynamic volume level and a nice slow ballad tempo allow the trio to mold the piece around a pretty melody.

The "Suite No. 1 Section IV" in three movements is over sixteen minutes long and brings pianist Andy Milne in for some fine solo work. His percussive style builds on the syncopation to offer constant twists and turns that drive the rhythm forward. The three movements, "Solitary," "Resigned," and "Modus Operandi," contrast with each other and provide opportunities for Mitcheltree to show his brand of creative improvisation. Since this set combines modern mainstream and creative improvised jazz, it should appeal to any jazz lover. Recommended.


Title: Brooklyn | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Dengor Music

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