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Dan McCarthy Trio: Interwords

Mark F. Turner By

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Dan McCarthy delivers some very good vibrations on this debut recording. Part of the new group of young vibraphonists including Stefon Harris (Evolution, Blue Note 2004) and Ben Adams (Old Thoughts for a New Day, Lunar Module 2006), McCarthy has his own ideas for the idiosyncratic instrument, which requires the skills of both a drummer and pianist to master.

McCarthy honed his craft academically in Canada for eighteen years before moving to New York in 2004. He displays the wares as a leader with Interwords, which reflects on honored vibe players like Milt Jackson and Gary Burton but also gives new visions of the mallet instrument. He has agility and lyricism to go along with his percussion onslaught, but the trio's performance and the smart compositions garner the most vivid focus.

These musicians are not only versed in hard-swinging tempos like the one on the showstopping "Something Walking," where trio-mates Matt Wigton (bass) and Greg Ritchie (drums) get to flex their formative muscles, but also on picturesque numbers like "Orchid, which has a paced and dreamy theme, and the resounding "Insight, where special guest saxophonist Myron Walden adds lyricism while the trio navigates through tricky changes.

This recording does not belabor the listener with overly long pieces. Instead, it's spotted with small snippets called "Short Stories that briefly interject curious themes—such as the toy-like "Short Story #2, which piques the listener's attention. But the trio also has plenty of room to stretch out on the Latin-tinted "Ebo, which features elaborate feats of energy and oneness. The trio plays every selection as if it was the last opportunity—with deep feeling, expectancy and freedom—the very things that makes jazz so appealing. Recommended.

Track Listing: Prologue; Something Walking; Thought Again; Short Story #2; Harlem Folk Song; Ballyhoo For Ted; Short Story #6; Beyond All Others; Ebo; Orchid; Short Story #3; Sun Chaser; Insight; Epilogue.

Personnel: Dan McCarthy: vibraphone; Matt Wigton: bass; Greg Ritchie: drums; Myron Walden: saxophones (3,8,13).

Title: Interwords | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced

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