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Stacie McGregor comes bopping back again with Straight Up. She released this album independently last year, but over the months it garnered enough interest for her to go in and re-record some tracks, have some remastered and even add a new tune. The album had been added to playlists in Germany, Australia, Hungary, Poland and Spain, and with the new sound, and the fresher approach, there should be renewed interest in McGregor and her music.
The new track, "Horacin' Around," does not require an intuitive mind to know in whose direction the acknowledgment flows. This one has a nice swing to it, the unison lines of the horns a delectable intro before Kevin Turcotte breaks out on the trumpet. His ideas swell from a deep well of inspiration, and so do those of Michael Stuart, whose saxophone is big and brawny, yet never overwhelms or shadows the strength of the composition. And then comes McGregor, adding the icing with her compact sense of articulation. This time around "Red's Blues" is given a deeper hue, a more palpable feeling rising from the intense emotive drive of Chris Mitchell on saxophone. Does "Very Late" tell a tale? It goes out of the dimension of the other compositions, fracturing time before it is bound on the gossamer lines of the horns that slowly but certainly give it shape. Stuart brings it into orbit as he frames convincing bop lines, Turcotte using the mute and soaring high, and McGregor adding a bright, traipsing line.
Straight Up is not all new, but it is improved, and that is good measure.
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.