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Blues State

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Album Review

Clay Jenkins is a veteran of the trumpet sections of numerous big bands and has recorded as a sideman on a number of other dates, in addition to his own work as a leader and jazz educator at Eastman School of Music. These 2006 sessions feature Jenkins leading a superb quintet, including pianist Harold Danko, guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Tom Warrington, and drummer Joe La Barbera, through his challenging originals. The opener, "Humble Stumble," posts some of the biggest pitfalls with its tricky rhythm and many sudden changes in direction, though the musicians stay on the path without a slip. "Batik" is a bit more accessible, a haunting melody with an ominous air at times. The loping "Blues State" gradually develops a jaunty air, with Danko providing a striding backdrop for the leader's adventurous solo. Danko penned "Sizzle," a tense post-bop vehicle powered by the pianist's catchy vamp that provides the undercurrent for both the solos and tight ensembles. All of the music stretches the listener's ears as it defies expectations without leaving one behind.

Blues State, Clay Jenkins
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  • $14.32
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 17 April 2007

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