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This is a collection of a set of tunes some of which, according to the liner, took on a life of their own creating all sorts of problems before this disk could be released, and then it was released with two of the tracks reversed. What's here, irrespective of order, is a collection of originals and some very good jazz classics. It's on the latter that this group shows up the best. The Coleman Hawkins/Thelonious Monk "I Mean You" is given a thorough hard bop workover featuring the tenor of Kurth Tvinnereim and the telling, but not over zealous, drums breaks of Andreas Brade, make this a first rate track. As one would expect, the piano of Sean Sweeney is front and center on Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man". Jonathan Deily-Swearingen's organ adds the right touch of groove. Perhaps not up to the level of the Mongo Santamaria's version, it nonetheless captures the spirit of Hancock's music with a better than average arrangement. On the other side of the ledger, the original material seems mundane and forgettable. Tunes like "Bittersweet Memories" seem to just plod along never really reaching any special heights of creativity either in the composing or the playing. Of the originals, the pretty ballad "Karl" stands out. There's the intense, introspective piano of Sweeney played against the biting, but melodic Tvinnereim sax. It's too bad the saxophonist was having problems with his reed as evidenced by the occasional squeak.
There's no doubt that this group is serious about its music and the way it is performed. It's just that most of the original material falls short of the mark. Better luck next time.
Track Listing: Fast Swing; Watermelon Man; Latin Leftovers; Karl; So What; Sleepless Nights; Happy Feet; I Mean You; Low Blow; Bittersweet Memories
Personnel: Kurth Tvinnereim - Alto & Tenor Sax; Garret Savluk - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Hikaru Tsukamoto - Trombone; Sean Sweeney - Piano; Allan Hirt - Bass/Guitar Synth; Andreas Blade/Sam Biancuzzo - Drums; Ken Rothman - Guitar; Jonathan Deily-Swearingen - Drums/Organ
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.