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Close Encounter (feat. Vincent Herring)

Martin Sasse

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Album Review

Close Encounter is Martin Sasse's follow up to the well-received Groovy Affair in 2003. Like that album, the group has invited a high-powered guest — altoist Vincent Herring — to sit in. The match, like adding guitarist Peter Bernstein on Groovy Affair, is an inspired one that throws the proceedings into high gear. Except for Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," all of these pieces are originals, written or co-written by pianist Martin Sasse, bassist Henning Gailing, drummer Hendrik Smock, and Herring. The album kicks off with "Don't Let It Go," an airy, quiet groove that includes some lovely solo work by both Herring and Sasse. "Blue Herring" captures a more bop-ish mood, allowing Herring to really cut loose against Sasse's block chords and Gailing and Smock's propulsive rhythm. One of the most pleasant standouts on Close Encounter is the impressionist "I Will Sing You a Lullaby," featuring Herring's beautiful flute work. The piece floats like a calm reverie, leaving one wishing it lasted for more than four minutes. The group never opts for the obvious. Herring opens "Over the Rainbow" with a Charlie Parker-ish warm-up before the trio chimes in for a nice turn on this most familiar of songs. Bop and post-bop fans will enjoy the heady mixture of the players on Close Encounter, and find it a worthy follow up to Groovy Affair. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Close Encounter (feat. Vincent Herring), Martin Sasse
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