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Five Play

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Album Review

Despite a good first album, On the Brink, Five Play took their sweet time recording Five Play...Plus in 2004. The "Plus" indicates outside players on several tracks, but even without these players, Five Play remind one of a scaled-down big band. For those unfamiliar with the group, it's interesting to note that unlike 99 percent of the active jazz units playing today, the band is all female, a fact that's even more unusual when one notes that none of them sing. Fronted by drummer Sherrie Maricle, Five Play consist of two saxophonists, tenor Anat Cohen and alto Karolina Strassmayer, a pianist, Tomoko Ohno, and bassist Noriko Ueda. The lively arrangements give a number of traditional songs — Dave Brubeck's "Theme from Mr. Broadway" and Lew Brown/Sammy Fain's "That Old Feeling" — fresh treatments. Five Play deliver fairly traditional mainstream jazz, but their eclectic choice of material — "If I Only Had a Brain" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop" — gives them a distinct edge. On half the tracks, the band is joined by either trumpeter/flügelhornist Jami Dauber or Barbara Laronga. This gives songs like Hank Mobley's "Funk in a Deep Freeze" and Chick Corea's "Bud Powell" an even bigger sound. Five Play...Plus is a good album by a good group, and with any luck, it will serve to introduce Five Play to an appreciative audience. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., Rovi

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The all-women's ensemble Five Play (the similar name Fourplay was already taken) is a smaller spin-off group of the Diva Jazz Orchestra. Drummer Sherrie Maricle from Buffalo, N.Y., the founder of both bands, was inspired by the Blue Note type groups of the '60s to the extent that she wanted to lead a quintet with a similar mainstream jazz, hard bop style. Founded in the late '90s, Maricle organized the combo with help from Diva manager Stanley Kay, conceived as a historical "band within a band" along...
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