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Cliff Brucker: Full Circle, Vol. 2

Dan McClenaghan By

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Drummer Cliff Brucker is based in New York, but it is not the big city. He and his crack quintet—two horns, piano/bass/guitar drums—are settled in upstate, in Albany. They revisit the sound of the Blue Note Records' heyday on this follow up to Full Circle (Self Produced, 2016), with Full Circle, Vol 2.

A revisitation/celebration of a classic jazz era—the late fifties through the late sixties—Full Circle, Vol. 2 embraces the mainstream sound and the attitude that evolved post-Charlie Parker. Dylan Canterbury's trumpet shines bright and sassy, a la Freddie Hubbard; and the sextet displays the interactive elan of the best of the classic ensembles—those of Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Hank Mobley—on a collection of familiar tunes that receive a precision tune-up by Brucker and company. And if the group needed an ace in the hole (it doesn't, but they brought one anyway) they've got tenor saxophonist Leo Russo—eighty-one years old at the time these tracks were recorded—sitting in, sounding as cool, eloquent and articulate as any sax man out there.

The second ace in the hole is guitarist Mike Novakowski, who—in cahoots with pianists Larry Ham and Pete Levin—crafts a gorgeous harmonic backdrop for these tunes every jazz fan has heard a hundred times—Jerome Kern's "This Song Is You," Sonny Rollins' "Airegin," Benny Golson's "Step Lightly"—in this masterclass of the art of classic jazz.

Track Listing: This Song Is You; Airegin; Laura; Just Friends; Emily; Deception; Pensativa; Crazyology; Nostalgia; Step Lightly; Full Circle.

Personnel: Cliff Brucker; drums; Leo Russo: tenor saxophone; Dylan Canterbury; trumpet, flugelhorn; Larry Ham: piano; Peter Levin: piano; Mike Novakowski: guitar; Otto Gardner: bass.

Title: Full Circle, Vol. 2 | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

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