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Chris Kase: Let Go

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Chris Kase is one of those artists that those in the know, know. The trumpeter, who currently resides, teaches and performs primarily in Spain, is a superb player and composer. All those qualities can be seen in Let Go. It is an intelligent, thought-provoking display of his fine musicianship.

"Teaser" opens the session with a catchy, "lick-like" up-tempo theme on which Kase displays his playful, yet focused approached to the melody and his improv. "The Wishing Song" has guitarist Marcos Collado laying the lush textures down before Kase enters with a slow, thoughtful melody that speaks of yearning and things lost. The leader's horn is warm and fits in synch well with the tune's serene ambience. "Song of the Underground Work Song" is a triple-metered that has Kase blowing over his partners' spinning-wheel underpart.

Kase is in utter command of his horn and his creativity on the beautiful "Afastado" (where Collado echoes him) and throughout the entire date. He's an intelligent, inspiring improviser. There's no pianist on the album. However, guitarist Collado, bassist Ander Garcia and drummer, Miguel Benito provide robust harmonic and rhythmic platforms for Kase's highly lyrical improvisational explorations. Their respective solos and interplay are also superior and importantly, in the textural format of these pieces. All fits well with the leader's compositions.

A standout on the album is Kase's slick "Roweena," a savvy Monk-ish rendering of a 12-tone row. You'd never know that the tune is just that. "Courting Disaster" has the trumpeter and his crew moving quicker, then slower over the stop time. "Out of Towner" salutes Ralph Towner with a scampering melody. The title tune is a two-toned repetitive motif leading into Kase's beautiful melodic offering and Collado's inviting stretching out. The exotic and quirky-melodied "Puddle Jumper" and beautifully elegiac "For Ken Wheeler" close the session out with the same beauty as all prior.

Let Go offers a fascinating near-hour of colors, textures—and artistry. Do take the title literally and enjoy.

Track Listing: Teaser, The Wishing Song, Song of the Underground Work Song, Afastado, Riff One, Roweena, Courting Disaster, Out of Towner, Let Go. Puddle Jumper, For Ken Wheeler.

Personnel: Chris Kase: trumpet and flugelhorn; Marcos Collado: guitar; Ander Garcia: bass; Miguel Benito: drums.

Title: Let Go | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Errabal Jazz

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