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Josh Irving Quartet: Outside to Play

Franz A. Matzner By

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Stylistically amorphous, the Josh Irving Quartet's freshman effort, Outside to Play, suffers from an inability to establish a consistent voice, which ultimately distracts from the musicians' talents.

Vacillating between bop, hard bop, and more contemporary directions, the four musicians clearly possess a comprehensive—albeit studied—background in jazz forms, and the group's original tunes reveal a promising talent for composition that is unfortunately too often overshadowed by relatively shapeless solos and a lack of overall cohesion.

The album's exceptions, however, prove there is a lot of potential to be found here, and when the group finds its groove and stays focused—as on "Whatfore Art Thou?"—things begin to cook admirably. Here, Irving's considerable technical abilities reveal themselves, and his fiery solo draws his band mates together for a solid venture.

Overall a bit of a misstep, Outside to Play is still a worthy effort possessing exciting moments. It will be interesting to see what direction the Josh Irving Quartet moves in.

Track Listing: Up and Down; Song for the Sons; Arise; Durruti; Swept Away; Whatfore Art Thou?; Misteriovum; Outside to Play

Personnel: Josh Irving (alto and soprano saxophones), George Dulin (piano), Fred Meli (bass), Isaih Ceccarelli (drums)

Title: Outside to Play | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Acoustic Recording

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