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The Antfarm Quartet is an ultra-hip ensemble of seasoned east coast jazz musicians with like-minded ideals. On Dialogues, pt. 2, vocalist Paul Jost, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Tim Lekan and drummer Bob Shomo demonstrate a collaborative penchant for soulful experimentation on a solid set of originals and standards.
In an era of male jazz vocalists jousting for position as Rat Pack wannabees and angst-ridden, twenty-something posers, Jost is a sigh of relief. He possesses an abundance of convincing vocal qualities, most notably his ability to deliver fresh, uncontrived readings of overdone standards like "The Days of Wine and Roses, "Girl From Ipanema and "How Insensitive.
Jost's somber rendering of Rodgers and Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was, complimented by Ridl's minimalist accompaniment, is drenched with pathos and is astonishingly compelling.
Ridl is a dynamic force on the keyboard. The North Dakota native demonstrates dexterous command on the up-tempo "Put on a Happy Face, and dense lyricism on his own ballad "Sun on My Hands. Lekan and Shomo swing along with unremitting energy, elevating the intensity of each groove and providing a relaxed foundation for Jost and Ridl to shine. Lekan also contributes as composer with the bouncy title track, an engaging group-improv piece that maintains a relaxed pocket.
High-level musicianship aside, the real charm of The Antfarm Quartet lies in their communal sensibilitiesthey sound like a real band. Dialogues, pt. 2 is full of give-and-take, humility and warmth.
Track Listing: The Days of Wine and Roses; Centerpiece; Sun on My Hands; Let Me Call You Sweetheart; Dialogues, Pt. 2; And I Love Her; Put on a Happy Face; I Didnít Know What Time It Was; Tetragon; Gentle Rain; Girl from Ipanema; How Insensitive.
Personnel: Tim Lekan: bass; Paul Jost: vocals, harmonica, guitar; Bob Shomo: drums; Jim Ridl: piano, keyboard.