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Sean Driscoll: Islands

Jim Santella By

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The Sean Driscoll Group plays contemporary jazz with a myriad of sounds that are familiar to us all: the snappy electric bass in the background, the melodic saxophone that weaves its tale up front, the evenly-keeled piano, the natural timbre of congas, the coloring pulse of the drummer, the keyboard that can sound like different instruments, and the likeable guitar that carries the brunt of the responsibility. Guitarist Sean Driscoll contributed all the compositions and leads with a creative force that never dominates, but instead brings the disparate voices together to interact and support. More information on the nature of this sextet may be found athttp://seandriscollgroup.iuma.com .

The band includes saxophonist Bill Vint, pianist Patrik Andren, bassist Carlos Sanoja, drummer Antonio Sanchez, and percussionist Doug Hinrichs. Lead voices Vint and Driscoll offer pleasant melodies with some improvisation. On "If You Ask," the duo performs unaccompanied, gently rolling out a fresh expressive ballad. "Where We're From" is Vint's up-tempo tenor saxophone feature, while the syncopated and driving "North" features Sanoja's electric bass in the spotlight. Pianist Andren has several solo spots; his work on "Bright Spot" and "3 Faces" is filled with enthusiasm, and his keyboard work on "Archipelago" provides appropriate small-town, remote-area, folk music scenery.

Driscoll's guitar work is contemporary and jazz-fusion oriented, but never loud or aggressive. His melodic approach combines appealing phrasing with improvised fills and spurts. There's a brief, untitled, unlisted bonus track at the end. It's a group improvisation that allows each member of the group to say "so long" in his own way. Recommended.


Track Listing: Half Circle, Half Square; Archipelago; No One to Tell; Watch You Fly; Where We're From; Bright Spot; If You Ask; 3 Faces; North.

Title: Islands | Year Released: 1998


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