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Lacking the angularity of the Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander (Sharp Nine, 2002), Circles represents another important addition to the acoustic contemporary canon. Matthew Parrish is a young double-bassist who displays formidable chops in performance, arrangement, and composition. Circles is his debut recording and is impressive as a first outing. Parrish's own compositions range from the fringe contemporary of "Bee-Doe-Lot" to the bluesy "This One's For Al" to the extended ballad consideration of the title track. He presents a moody ethereal duet with pianist Vincent Bourgeyx.
The standards are explosive. "Seven Steps to Heaven" is perfect Be Bop performed with a digital sensibility. The talented Joel Frahm absolutely burns on tenor. The unlikely spiritual "Go Tell It on the Mountain" shows up effectively with a light Caribbean accent, representing the quiet center of the recording. Ellington's "Flirtbird" rounds out this fine recording as a bonus track, giving everyone ample time to make their respective statements. This disc is filled up with interesting and challenging music. Strongly recommended.