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If the jazz world has room for two Avishai Cohens, and it can deal with the confusion of two different guys named Bill Evans that played with Miles Davis, it can certainly stand to have two bands called Five Play. The one on the East Coast is a breakout band extracted from the all-female Diva Jazz Orchestra; that's not the one under discussion here. The FivePlay Jazz Quintet, a group that's based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the one responsible for Five & More.
This band, which has been around since 2005 and released two prior albums, is under the direction of guitarist Tony Corman and pianist Laura Klein who, between the two of them, contribute nine of the ten tunes on Five & More. The only non Corman-or-Klein concoction"Glamorgan"comes from the pen of multi-reedist Dave Tidball, the only horn player in the regular line-up and the star of this date. Tidball proves to be a real attention grabber on everything from soprano saxophone ("The Girl You Look Right Past") to bass clarinet ("What Bobby Said"), and he can go from raucous ("Stella Steps Out") to tender ("Glamorgan") with ease.
If it were just a quintet running down these tunes, things could come off as a tad generic, but the presence of some guests and the arrangements that surround them help to make this music memorable. The juxtaposition of trombones against soprano saxophone creates a unique sound on "The Girl You Look Right Past," clarinet(s) and vibraphone come together brilliantly on "What Bobby Said," and bass trumpet moves atop a bed of clarinets on "Rosa Rugosa," a captivating bossa that stands as one of the highlights on the album.
FivePlay Jazz Quintet sounds just fine on its own, but personnel augmentation makes the group sound even better on Five & More.
Track Listing: The Girl You Look Right Past; Enology; What Bobby Said; Glow In The Dark; One Better; Rosa Rugosa; Stella Steps Out; Glamorgan; Abbott's Lagoon; Making Spirits Rise.
Personnel: Tony Corman: guitar; Laura Klein: piano; Dave Tidball: saxophone(s), clarinet(s); Alan Hall: drums; Paul Smith: acoustic bass; Jim Dukey: clarinet (3, 6); Charlie Keagle: clarinet (3, 6); Dick Mathias: clarinet (3, 6); Ryan Black: trombone (1, 5); Derek James: (1, 5); Eric Swihart: trombone (1, 5); Rick Walsh: trombone (1, 5); Ted Wolff: vibraphone (3, 4); Frank Phipps: bass trumpet (6).
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.