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Album Review

What can be done with a basic jazz trio? Brent Jensen appears to be setting out specifically to answer that question on his fourth album on Origin. With his alto sax he combines with portions of two existing Origin bands: guitarist Jamie Findlay and bassist Zac Matthews of the Acoustic Jazz Quartet on half of the tracks, and bassist Doug Miller and drummer (and label founder) John Bishop of New Stories on the alternating half. The trios make a show of it, working through a mix largely of older standards with the AJQ lineup (Irving Berlin, Vic Young, Brooks Bowman) and some more forward-thinking pieces with the New Stories lineup (Monk and Coltrane). As such, the tone of the album shifts back and forth a bit, but with almost a full alternation of style from track to track. Both sides of the picture are clear and fine ultimately. The more restrained tracks give Jensen and the others a chance to show off some relaxed, nightclub-vibe solos and call and response. The Monk and Coltrane tracks on the other hand build a slow-cooked groove, powerfully accentuated by Bishop's drums (made even more explicit by the lack of a drummer on the other half of the tracks), that builds to a crescendo of solos and bouncing melodic lines. Perhaps not as smooth as some of his previous work, but Trios shows off another side of Jensen's abilities.

Trios, Brent Jensen
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