The press release accompanying pianist/composer Kerry Politzer's third album professes her love of Brazilian music and straight-ahead jazz. We certainly hear some good examples of her approach to samba, but most of this album is squarely in the category of well developed mainstream jazz in a trio and quartet setting. Politzer is joined by Andrew Rathbun, dividing his time on tenor and soprano sax on half of this album, plus bassist Chris Higgins and drummer George Colligan. (Colligan is perhaps better known as a well-recorded pianist with many albums under his own name.)
Beginning with the frenetic samba "Rhodes Rage," Rathbun takes the lead on tenor sax and navigates the tricky melody line with Politzer skillfully comping for him. When the pianist takes her solo, it displays her fleet-fingered ability to match the speed of this tune with concise statements. On "Paloma," an attractive bossa nova, Rathbun switches to soprano sax and shows a very lyrical approach to the instrument. Both "The End?" and "After The Smoke, Memories" are piano trio ballad tracks; the latter is a post-9/11 commentary.
Andrew Rathbun returns to tenor sax for the complex melody line of the title tune, "Labyrinth," and both he and the pianist skillfully find their way to the center of this maze with their respective solos. "Super Ball" is an up-tempo trio conclusion that includes a sparkling piano statement from Politzer and an opportunity for Colligan on the drum kit.
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