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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Platz Quintet - Live At Internationales Jazz Festival Münster 2007 (Konnex, 2008) ****

Boston-based guitarist Jeff Platz made two excellent albums with his two previous bands, "Bright Light Group" and "Skull Session", with himself and Scott Getchell on trumpet as the only continuity, including this new outfit, called the Platz Quintet, with Blaise Siwula on sax, Kit Demos on bass and John McLellan on drums. The music is much in the same style as the previous endeavors, high quality improvisations, very rooted in bop in terms of scales and phrasing, but with a very free and open approach to rhythms and composition. Despite the size of a quintet, the music very often has a chamber jazz feel, very intimate, close, sensitive to individual notes and interactions, without any sense of urgency or even need to move forward. This gentle restraint and sense of control, despite the music's natural freedom, makes this such an interesting and worthwhile approach. Without breaking boundaries, the musicianship is excellent, the unity of approach is strong, and the overall quality is excellent. The live performance gives the overall result an additional touch, including spontaneous moments of crowd-pleasing interactive fun, as in "Five Reasons". Nice.

Listen to an extract from "It's Like"

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