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Ezra Weiss: The Five A.M. Strut

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Five A.M. Strut starts off with an unruly bang with "Symmetric," ironically named because the music is anything but. Oregon native Ezra Weiss begins his recital of all original tunes with an explosion of sound. Taking full advantage of the tethered freedom offered jazz by the second great Miles Davis Quintet, Mr. Weiss aggressively addresses the hard bop/post bop paradox with confidence and finesse.



This is the assertive spirit, characteristic of the youthful Weiss, which permeates this recording. It also helps that the leader surrounds himself with seasoned and younger artists in support of this project. On one hand, he employees veterans drummer Billy Hart and alto saxophonist Antonio Hart and newcomers trumpeter Leon Lee Dorsy and tenorist Kelly Roberge.

Amongst his straight-ahead offerings, Weiss includes a couple of ringers for school. "The Clown Feature" was written for a student circus and sounds a bit like a klezmer band gone wrong. It might be the most distinctive piece on the recording, alone making the disc worth checking out, but Weiss’ informed sense of humor shows up on the next piece, the title cut. "The Five A.M. Strut" is a languid show-closer. It has a walking pace and swings with a gently volatile rhythm.



The Five A.M. Strut is a superb recording by a young talent.



For more information, please see Umoja Records and Ezra Weiss .


Track Listing: Symmetrics, A Time for Healing, Tea Shells, One for Wendell, Waiting, The Clown Feature, For the Youngins, The Five A.M. Strut, I Regret.

Personnel: Ezra Weiss--piano; Michael Philip Mossman--trumpet; Antonio Hart--alto sax; Kelly Roberge--tenor sax; Leon Lee--bass; Billy Hart

Title: The Five A.M. Strut | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Umoja Productions

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