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In Orbit: in Orbit

Anya Wassenberg By

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In Orbit—the group, the song and the album—have a groovy 70s retro kind of feel, crashing chords, melody and dissonance, all to a disco beat.

High on energy, with an emphasis on danceable grooves, In Orbit is a cross-border group with a core of Canadian guitarist Michael Occhipinti and American saxophonist Jeff Coffin, who shared composing duties on the album. Tommy Reynolds adds tasteful and understated piano to the mix, with the strong combination of Felix Pastorius on bass and Davide Direnzo on drums rounding out the band.

The title track is a virtuosic tour-de-force for the sax, over layers of guitar, piano, and a retro dance groove. The combination of familiar beats and unexpected changes is explored throughout the release. Every now and then a ghost of a pop melody breaks out of the improvisational spirit of "Big Belly," with some interesting chord changes and a nice growling guitar line that add texture and momentum.

The blend of melodic structure and improvisational deviations from it—both tied to a tight, bouncy rhythm section—is a pattern the group weaves into a variety of influences from track to track. "Hat on Hat" borrows a bit of its cool groove from funk, the sax introducing a pattern that dances around the syncopations and closes out like an old school jam.

"The Mad Hatter Rides Again" is a stand-out track, with a combination of breakneck rhythm section, swirling sax, and piano bouncing off rhythm guitar. The solo section is a wild ride of melody and beats. "One Eyed Bandit" leans back in time towards the smooth chill of a Vegas lounge with a languid melody on the sax over shimmering cymbals.

In Oribt's playful and inventive take on retro sounds adds a modern gloss to well-worn grooves. The release will please fans of both classic and contemporary jazz.

Track Listing: Big Belly; Hat on Hat; Go Fly A Kite; The Mad Hatter Rides Again; Unity; In Orbit; One Eyed Bandit

Personnel: Michael Occhipinti: guitar/composer; Jeff Coffin: saxophone/composer; Davide Direnzo: drums; Felix Pastorius: bass; Tom Reynolds: piano.

Title: in Orbit | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ear Up Records

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