Trumpeter Cyrus Nabipoor and his quintet dive headfirst into the deep end of musical conversation in this live performance, with "What Is This." The exchanges between Nabipoor and tenor saxophonist Brad Walker are crisp, spoken with emphasis and assurance. Balancing guitar strains from George Wilde reset the clock, leading to a more inclusive conversation with the rhythm section of drummer Brad Webb and bassist James Singleton.
The intensity of the Nabipoor composition, "What Is This," is eschewed for the moderate and sweetly tinged "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out." Nabipoor elegantly displays his chops in a mindful and charismatic manner. Wilde becomes part of a three-man rhythm section that sets and maintains an easy flow throughout that is tastefully navigated by Nabipoor and Walker.
Drummer Webb leads into "Cellmates" with a nifty, if not alluring, pull. The table set, Nabipoor and Walker get righteous in a brisk and flavorful duet. They are in perfect harmony. The conversation leans on the triumph and joy of agreement, as opposed to the sparring on "What Is This."
Like "Cellmates," "Hipody" is a Nabipoor composition. Guitarist Wilde sets the pace at the outset and holds the line throughout. Nabipoor rides it beautifully with Webb picking up the tempo. Walker jumps on to a moving train and adds to the acceleration. It's a piece that cleverly sneaks up on you with seemingly gradual yet actually swift movement.
Webb and Singleton kick into what immediately signifies a fiery excursion. Nabipoor swings mightily to the groove and is followed by Walker's equally fervent riffs. The ensemble comes together on this juggernaut in explosive yet deftly controlled tangents. "Spector" is yet another bright composition from Nabipoor.
Changing gears with a country swing intro, Nabipoor's "Huckleberry Madness" lets the ensemble loose to just have some fun. Country swing shifts on a dime into a heavier chord fusion rock encampment, with Wilde at the helm. With Webb and Singleton jamming along the show turns into more of a Jeff Beck style concert. An unexpected and consequently fun and uplifting turn of events.
"Pan's Labyrinth Lullaby" is ushered in by the Nabipoor penned "Lullaby Intro." Nabipoor's creative vocabulary is firmly engaged by Webb and Singleton as it quite spectacularly morphs into "Pan's Labyrinth Lullaby." The tune moves into a passage that has pelting Latin undertones from Nabipoor and Walker, that are encased inside a banging groove. This is a show stopper. But they have one more up their sleeves.
After introducing the band, the quintet closes by leaving the crowd with an upbeat swing number. Nabipoor pops with authority along with a tight, grooving, in the moment, band. Walker enters the mix with energy and, like Nabipoor, digs deep for note selections. Soon it is a raucous display that again systematically downshifts into a funky bass solo, then smoothly into a dynamite drums and bass excursion. Nabipoor and Walker quickly wrap it all up and put a bow on it by circling back to the melody, and an exciting evening of live jazz has come to an end.
What more can be said? These cats can play! A superb blend of strong conversational and improvisational jazz with some straight-forward and entertaining swing elements.
What Is This; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out; Cellmates; Hipody; Specter; Huckleberry Madness; Lullaby Intro; Pan's Labyrinth Lullaby; NOK Blues.
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