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Neal Miner: The Real Neal

Jim Santella By

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A bassist’s album is sure to provide that certain sound. Neal Miner takes the melody in hand and walks it gently around the studio. His quartet prefers straight-ahead jazz with an emphasis on melody. Standards provide instant recognition, while Miner’s five swinging originals add fresh sounds. A lyrical bassist, Miner blends a rich tone and seamless phrasing into his interpretations. Mainstream jazz of this nature usually means waiting for the bass solo and hoping that the audience will stay quiet. With his debut session as a leader, Miner makes sure that his audience gets “the real deal.” Guitar, saxophone and drums share the solo spotlight liberally. Chris Bergson and Doug White add tender lyricism. Their ensemble sound maintains a suitable balance. Trading fours often, drummer Joe Stasser rounds out a strong quartet and a recommended recording. When a bassist leads with melody or improvises over the tune’s chord changes, it’s a special time. Neal Miner’s ensemble ensures that everyone gets to enjoy the bass solo.

Track Listing: Blues for Red and Brown; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Night Owls; Put On a Happy Face; The Message; This Is Always; Neality; Pick Yourself Up; Bassism; Autumn Nocturne; Spiffy.

Personnel: Neal Miner- bass; Chris Bergson- guitar; Joe Stasser- drums; Doug White- tenor saxophone.

Title: The Real Neal | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Juniper Records

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