Saxophonist Joel Moore says Magnetic is an EP, even though it runs for as long (thirty-seven minutes) as some full-fledged re-releases on CD from the LP era. Moore's quintet performs five songs in all, two by the leader, one each by guitarist Nick Mizock and bassist Michael Barton, plus Wayne Shorter's diaphanous "Ana Maria," which opens the studio session.
Moore's "Not So Far Away" is a gospel-inspired anthem, "Sob a Luz Amarela" a sunny Latin-flavored theme on which the Chicago-born Moore plays soprano sax, as he does on "Ana Maria." Mizock's "Divisceral" is the session's flag-waver, burning rubber behind emphatic solos by pianist Paul Scherer, Moore (on tenor) and the composer. Barton's placid "Tapestry" resides at the other end of the celerity spectrum, drifting slowly through the changes while Moore and Scherer underscore its low-key nature.
Based on what is offered here, what can be said with assurance is that Moore and his bandmates are by no means novices. Moore, in fact, has degrees from the Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory and teaches saxophone and clarinet at the college level. His teammates, it must be assumed, are similarly well-schooled, as they present no reason to believe otherwise. In other words, this is an astute and cohesive ensemble, much like many others that are in the trenches or manning the ramparts from coast to coast.
Having said that, there is no particular trait that could be submitted as evidence to argue that Moore's group differs from those many others. This is simply good music, well-written and quite listenable, while at the same time virtually akin to jazz that is being played by enterprising groups in many other quarters. In sum, nothing exceptional but nothing less than proficient either.
Ana Maria; Not So Far Away; Sob a Luz Amarela; Tapestry; Divisceral.
Joel Moore: tenor, soprano saxophone; Nick Mizock: guitar; Paul Scherer: piano,
synthesizer; Michael Barton: electric bass; Paul Townsend: drums.
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