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Manhattan Projections

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Album Review

Pianist Andy Jaffe first released Manhattan Projections in 1984; Playscape Recordings reissued it in 2001. The new package includes an additional three tracks recorded in 1991 with different personnel. Adding to the historical interest of the original session is the presence of three of professor Jaffe's former Berklee pupils: Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. The lineup is completed by Ed Jackson on alto sax, Tom Olin on piccolo (only on "Samba de Saudade"), and Lou Harless on bass. Although Jaffe's tunes are very straight-ahead, with standard harmonies and forms culled from the post-bop playbook, each has enough twists and turns to challenge even the most esteemed players. (An uncredited baritone saxophonist appears on "Blues for Cannonball Adderley.") The 1991 tracks are a bit more unusual, at least in terms of instrumentation, with John Clark's French horn and Bill Lowe's trombone meshing nicely with Philippe Crettien's tenor sax. Bassist Mike Marcus and drummer Claire Arenius join Jaffe in the rhythm section. A fat, low-register hard bop sound emanates from the front line of the group, and Jaffe's writing is every bit as engaging, although the recording quality is markedly inferior to the 1984 session. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Manhattan Projections, Andy Jaffe
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