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Lasting Impression

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Album Review

Acoustic bassist Rob Thorsen has been a stalwart on the San Diego jazz scene for 20 years after moving from his native San Francisco. He's developed into a top-notch modern mainstream jazz player and bandleader, as evidenced by this effort showcasing his estimable talents and choice of material and sidemen. Thorsen mixes in some original compositions with reworked bop, post-bop, and American popular song standards. The exceptional pianist Geoff Keezer guests on five tracks, with up-and-comer Josh Nelson in on four. Saxophonist Ben Wendel and trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos form a fine front line in the Joe Henderson-Kenny Dorham tradition, and the skillful drummer Duncan Moore rounds out this potent band that delivers every step of the way. The standards are rearranged with some new twists and turns, as Charlie Parker's "Dexterity" is turned around the corner as a modern New Orleans shuffle, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" is completely tossed upside down into a dark, startling, and richly hued song of even bigger proportions with a deconstructed melody, and Jackie McLean's "Little Melonae" is fairly faithful to the original, but includes free sections and updated, stretched-out paraphrases, with a fine solo from the emerging tenor saxophonist Wendel. Charlie Chaplin's immortal "Smile" is modified by the exploratory Keezer in melodic inferences much like Mona Lisa's famous slight visage, "The Man I Love" is an out-and-out Afro-Cuban sizzler, while "It's Alright with Me" has Thorsen with just the trio playing the frantic lead melody very fast and soloing as well, going into hard and neo-bop territory, with Wendel's Michael Brecker influence shining through on his late entrance. Of the leader's originals, the horns sound focused and completely locked in for the exotic "Milagro Cafe," as Thorsen's probing bass turns to bop, while the bandmembers eventually sound like they are playing out of the repertoire of Woody Shaw. The outstanding "Dance of the Freaky Circles" showcases Thorsen's bass during the solo intro in 6/8 time, with a muted Castellanos and Wendel countering Keezer's intricate lines and Moore's tick-tock blue beats. The nine-minute "Cigarones" allows Keezer even more roaming room underground to sleepwalk among denizens of the deep, with some illuminating light from the cameo flute playing of John Rekevics. Castellanos is a player on the scene who deserves close attention, as he owns all the requisite chops, smarts, and good common sense to become a major jazz player on his instrument, very much evident on this recording. Lasting Impression is an appropriate title for those who discover this recording, easily recommended because it borders on excellent, and at times is extraordinary. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Lasting Impression, Rob Thorsen
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Latino
  • Released: Jun 09, 2009

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