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Craig Buhler: Capistrano Sessions

Dan McClenaghan By

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Welcome to the West Coast, and welcome to some buoyant cool jazz on Capistrano Sessions. Multiple reedist Craig Buhler (clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones) takes us on a "trip along the Pacific Coast" on this recording. This quintet outing fits the mold of fellow West Coaster Art Pepper's sound, though Buhler and his mates have perhaps a more upbeat, outgoing and slightly less intense approach.

This disc of all original material opens with a zingy, swinging "Lookear," where Buhler blows alto; and, as on all three of the axes he wields here, his sound is distinctive: warm and open, with a hint of blur around its edges. On "Capistrano," Buhler breaks out the clarinet, and trumpeter/flugelhornist Brian Atkinson goes mallet man, playing vibes to give the tune a gleaming bounce. "October," one of the more introspective moments of the set, features Buhler playing a soulful tenor sax with a deep, rich tone.

"Molly Ann" sounds as if it could have been titled "Maria Anna." It's got a fine Latin vibe—Buhler scorches the air waves on saxophone, and Brian Atkinson blows a loose, relaxed trumpet solo.

Buhler switches horns and Bran Atkinson comes in on vibes here and there. As a result, the vibrant mainstram sounds on Capistrano Sessions—leaning toward the West Coast—stay crisp and gregarious. Craig Buhler and company wear their jazz joy on their sleeves.

Track Listing: Lookear; Capistrano; Rivers; October; Paris Buffet; Himalayan; Migration; Molly Ann; Quiet Passion; Madrid Session; Harbor Cafe Blues.

Personnel: Craig Buhler: clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax; Brian Atkinson: trumpet, flugelhorn, vibes; Dave Witham: piano; Joel Hamilton: bass; Paul Kreibich: drums, percussion.

Title: Capistrano Sessions | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Discernment Music


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