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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 comprehensivealbeit studiedbackground 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 focusedas 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)