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George Colligan: Unresolved

C. Andrew Hovan By

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Over the course of his several recordings for the Danish SteepleChase label, pianist and composer George Colligan has presented a multifaceted portrait of himself as a musician while working in several formats, from solo piano to quintets. One of two projects Colligan has put together for Jordi Pojul's Fresh Sound label out of Spain, Unresolved really carries on where the SteepleChase set The Newcomer left off. Tenor man Mark Turner was a valuable contributor to the earlier album and he continues to be a perfect foil for Colligan's sophisticated writing. This time out, he also shares the front line with alto and soprano saxophonist Jon Gordon on a few cuts.

As resourceful as Colligan's records have always been, there's an even broader array of things going on this time around. He gets behind the Hammond B3 organ for two numbers, including the funky "Danger Zone" and the Shorterish "Why Does It Happen To Me Every Time"? Using an Ensoniq ASR 88, he manages a reputable Fender Rhodes sound for "Gray Day," an exceedingly beautiful line with a very memorable hook. The same goes for "The Very Last Waltz," which also finds Colligan playing trumpet. This piece, like some of his other ballad writing, discloses a strong resemblance to the melancholy rhapsodies of Kenny Wheeler. Finally, Colligan picks up a pair of drumsticks and tackles the adventurous "Modeidi's Modalities," doing so with a great deal of flair.

Some of the remaining material is strongly influenced by the '80s work of Wynton Marsalis and by jazz iconoclast Gary Thomas, as Colligan frankly states in his liners. The tempos are upbeat and the collective interplay is fascinating. So to wrap things up, let it be said that this might be the most accurate and full ranging picture of Colligan we've yet to experience. I can't wait to see what he has planned for his next outing!


Track Listing: Danger Zone, Train To St. Gallen, Gray Days, Nebulosity, Year's End, Evil Ambition, Unresolved, Modeidi's Modalities, The Very Last Waltz, Why Does It Happen To Me Every Time?

Personnel: George Colligan (piano, organ, keyboards, trumpet, drums), Mark Turner (tenor sax), Jon Gordon (alto & soprano sax- cuts 1 & 3 only), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar- cuts 8 & 10 only), Drew Gress (bass), Howard Curtis (drums)

Title: Unresolved | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Blue Moon

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