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Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson are a well established trio, having played together for a decade, and they sound like it on this recording. They move together so well that each has clearly internalized the others' tendencies. They're funky together, sensitive together, sparing together, and lavish together. This recording shows them in fine form, supporting guest artist Valery Ponomarev. Ponomarev is a splendid horn player. His playing is careful and deliberate, with solos that are finely crafted and never given over to abandon. He doesn't resort to cheap tricks to appeal to the crowd. Instead he relies on the intelligence of his listeners to realize the depth of his performance. Similarly, there is little that's overtly flashy about Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson. They are a solid, mainstream, trio, but one with a lot of character. This is the kind of group that makes music that doesn't grab your attention at first, but which stays with you and makes you notice its subtle longevity.
Personnel: Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Jeff "Siege" Siegal: drums; Tim Ferguson: bass; Valery Ponomarev: trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn.
Track Listing: Magical Spaces, Lonely Woman, Julie's Tabouleh, Dedication, For You Only, Blue Heart, Con Alma, Memorial, Blues For Elena, Angelica, You Wait Here. Total time: 70:01.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.