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Ballet of the Bouncing Beagles

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Album Review

In league with his local big-band colleagues, drummer/composer (and onetime Tonight Show arranger) Phil Kelly's second album since a Grammy nomination for Convergence Zone figures heavily with references to music past as well as a handful of nice fresh ideas. The album opens in pure jump jazz form with "Play Tonic Buds" — and just maybe a hint of the old Tonight Show theme. The push slows down a fair amount with the subtle but carefully loping "Limehouse Blues," then walks the line between Sunday afternoon jazz and Latin-flared jazz with the title track. A bit of New Orleans creeps into "Ewe Doo on Bubbas Shoux" and there is an overly relaxed approach to a lazy afternoon in "Rainshadow," along with a tribute to North Texas writing via dropped chord progressions. "B D Bunz" takes in bits of soul-jazz and Quincy Jones scoring in equal measure; Latin is tried more directly in "Estos Frijoles Causa Me Falta Pasar a los Vientos," with something of Dizzy Gillespie's blaring approach to Afro-Cuban stylings in the arrangement; and "Grover" stands as a straightforward piece of smooth jazz in tribute to Grover Washington, Jr., though there are touches and idioms from other pieces of jazz history hidden away (was that a horn riff from Head Hunters?). The album ends with a relative bang, moving back to more stereotypical big-band jump again (just as it started) and blasting its way through a frantic seven minutes of solos and group hits before collapsing into a final musical heap. The album has a little bit of everything, but never carries one form quite long enough to sound coherent. Outstanding playing and fine compositions all around, just perhaps in need of some reordering.

Ballet of the Bouncing Beagles, Phil Kelly & the Northwest Prevailing Winds
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  • 9,90 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 17 November 2009

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