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Album Review

The Barry Deister Quintet: Music for Jazz Quintet & Strings


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The Barry Deister Quintet: Music for Jazz Quintet & Strings
Some music really does speak to the soul, inadvertently, but effectively, nonetheless. And there are painters, real painters, of whom Barry Deister is one. And so are the musicians who accompany him on this truly beautiful set of compositions. Since these are difficult times, there are days when everything seems to be an effort. It is beyond reassuring to play something that is somehow edgy, but in a calm way, and not contrived, but deep and searching. "Music for Jazz Quintet and Strings" has a feeling of breathing in and out, tranquil in the face of very unpleasant realities. So rewarding.

"20 Innocents" memorializes the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, in reality twenty-eight, of whom 20 were simply children. That December day in 2012 seemed particularly surreal, talk about the problem of evil. Everyone reacted differently, yet shock, horror, anger, and despair were all there. Paul Mazzio's flugelhorn solo seems particularly poignant, and when Deister and the strings enter, there is a dramatic resolution. A dark modal tune, seemingly. "Ripples" opens with a 24-bar string introduction, but then breaks into a more bluesy vein before backtracking. It is an intriguing tune, in many ways similar to "20 innocents," but built on different harmonic intervals. It feels like breath and balance too, yet subtle. "Lost Idea" is a vehicle for Deister to solo, but the rhythm section and Mazzio get into the act too Somehow in the background, there in a feel for Maiden Voyage and Witch Hunt kind of stuff, but the strings pull, in a Lalo Schifrinish way. Slightly disconcerting after such a tranquil outing, but worthwhile all the same.

Deister writes beautifully, but his music requires and repays serious attention.

Track Listing

Ripples; 20 Innocents; The Lost Idea.


Barry Deister: saxophone, tenor; Paul Mazzio: trumpet; Tim Rap: drums; Randy Porter: piano; Jon Lakey: bass, acoustic.

Additional Instrumentation

Paul Mazzio: flugelhorn.

Album information

Title: Music for Jazz Quintet & Strings | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Trans Pacific Jazz

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