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Christian Sands: Reach Further

Mike Jurkovic By

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With full gale Monk-ian intensity and flair, pianist Christian Sands' five song EP, Reach Further bursts open with "J-Street" like the grandest, most swinging first flower in the new jazz garden. Then you hit repeat. Repeat again. Then you remember there are four more songs and the garden bursts with color.

Comprised of two brazen studio originals recorded for but left off 2017's seminal Reach and three utterly dynamic, immediate, and fun live tracks, recorded in March 2018 at L.A.'s Blue Whale Club, the EP serves to propel Sands' star ever upward through the growing, glowing universe of hotly progressive piano talent—Emmet Cohen, Cameron Graves, Victor Gould, Theo Hill...

Yet, as memorable as the two studio tracks are—the aforementioned "J-Street" and the buzz-worthy "We See," recorded with bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Marcus Baylor—it's the live tracks, once again employing Nakamura with drummer Jerome Jennings, that take this recording to exciting new levels of piano trio interplay and spontaneity.

Recorded with urgent clarity, the tracks put the listener in the club hootin' n hollerin' while marveling at the intuitive malleability of "Reaching for the Sun," ¡Óyeme!," and "Song of the Rainbow People," powerhouse songs from the mother album. Sands bends the music to suit his will, then lets go of the reins for Nakamura and Jennings to follow their own propulsively marvelous paths, without destroying the sheer uncomplicated, ecstatic joy of listening to three guys create with unbridled joy and an audience locked into their every funhouse turn. There is no turn of phrase or musical invention known that Sands, in his search for definition, well-crafted tunes, and their indispensable performances, does not dare one and all to follow, thereby packing as much excitement into these five tracks as most albums triple that length. Required listening.

Track Listing: J Street; We See; Reaching for the Sun; ¡Óyeme!; Song of the Rainbow People

Personnel: Christian Sands - piano; Yasushi Nakamura - bass; Marcus Baylor - drums; Jerome Jennings -drums

Title: Reach Further | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

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