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There will always be a place for a recorded standards workout. West Coast alto saxophonist Chaz Lipp and this band the Groove Tripp provide a dandy and durable one with Good Merlin. Lipp leads a crack quartet that accompanies vocalist Sanjaya Malakar on seven solid standards and three tightly constructed and performed originals that include the mainstream title cut, an ultra-funky "Groovy Green Eyes, and cacophonous theme, "Fly by Night."
The standards include a breezy "Take the 'A' Train" and a humidly sexy "Nature Boy," the latter dominated by Malakar's profound alto voice. "Watermelon Man" proves more funky blues than jazz, which is a great foil to "Georgia on my Mind" and "Summertime." Lipp plays with a confident bop-infused tone that displays solid chops and an impressive working knowledge of his material. He is a generous leader giving his band plenty of space within which to solo and stretch out. Pianist Charlie Hiestand has a steady hand anchored by bassist Trevor Pelletier and propelled by drummer Chris Patin. Good Merlin is a fun and friendly romp through American Music.
Personnel: Chaz Lipp: alto saxophone, Sanjaya Malakar: vocals, Charlie Hiestand: piano, Trevor
Pelletier: upright bass, Chris Patin: drums
Title: Good Merlin
| Year Released: 2017
| Record Label: Self-released