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The Ian Carey Quintet: Contextualizin'

C. Michael Bailey By

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Trumpeter Ian Carey's Contextualizin' is a digital Masters seminar. First, of course, is the music: solid, acoustic, composed, progressive, explorative. Second, is the exegesis, Carey's realization that, ..."what I played would help shape how I played..." Not technically dazzling, Carey, like Miles Davis, chooses to focus on which notes he plays (and doesn't) and their relative order as opposed to the tempo or technical exercise contained in the notes' performance. This shift in perspective moves the act of playing music from the sterile virtuosic into the informed, emotive realm, providing a solid balance.

Gratefully, Carey reflects Tom Harrell and Dave Douglas in his playing—more, perhaps, than Miles Davis. His open-bell tone is warm with an even mid-range, affecting a very comfortable sound. His flugelhorn is mellower and more focused still. Likewise, Carey's composing—he penned eight of the disc's nine pieces—is as pragmatic as his playing.

Carey's quintet is simpatico with the leader's vision. Pianist Adam Shulman approaches his dual role as harmonic anchor and soloist with intelligence and the same practical spark as the leader. His piano style is so dense and all encompassing that, like the leader, Shulman has forged a unique sound as an assimilation of all he has heard. Among the eight originals, Carey slips the standard "Just Friends"; beautifully updated, but readily favoring the famous opening piece on Charlie Parker with Strings (Verve, 1950).

Contextualizin' is what adult contemporary jazz should sound like: smart, simple, acoustic...recalling the past without being mired in it.

Track Listing: Tom/Tom; Questions; Leap Year; Contextualizin'; Just Friends; Disinvited; No You; No You; Sockdolager; Shake & Joe.

Personnel: Ian Carey: trumpet, flugelhorn; Evan Francis: alto saxophone, flute; Adam Schulman: piano and Fender Rhodes; Fred Randolph: bass; Jon Arkin: drums.

Title: Contextualizin' | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Kabocha Records

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