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Mark Soskin is a perfect example of a jazzman who has impressive sideman credentials but hasn't done nearly enough recording as a leader. Though the pianist/keyboardist has been keeping busy as a sideman since the 1970s, he had recorded less than five albums of his own when the 21st century arrived — and this is a guy who is talented enough to have played with Sonny Rollins and Billy Cobham extensively. So when the Swiss TCB label released 17 (Seventeen) during the summer of 2001, Soskin's admirers couldn't help but be thrilled to see him coming out with something new. Though Soskin is quite capable of playing fusion or jazz-funk on the electric keyboards, 17 is very much a straight-ahead post-bop date in the Cedar Walton/Kenny Barron vein. Soskin sticks to the acoustic piano, and he leads a cohesive acoustic combo that includes Tim Hagans on trumpet and flügelhorn, Billy Drewes on tenor and soprano sax, Jay Anderson on bass, Matt Wilson on drums, and Daniel Sadownick on percussion. The pianist swings aggressively on Bud Powell's Cuban-flavored "Un Poco Loco" but, overall, Soskin and his colleagues tend to be very pensive and reflective — that is true on pianist Bill Evans' "Time Remembered" as well as Soskin originals like "Elysian Fields," "Pals," and "Manfredo's Fest" (which is named after pianist Manfredo Fest). An album this pensive calls for lyrical soloists, and 17 has exactly that in Soskin, Hagans, and Drewes. That isn't to say that the CD doesn't swing — 17 is consistently swinging, but it rarely swings in an in-your-face sort of way. This pleasing album makes one wish that Soskin's catalog were much larger.
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||Manfredo's Fest||17 (Seventeen)||8:35||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Un Poco Loco||17 (Seventeen)||7:32||$0.99||View In iTunes|