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Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Bone - Destined (CM Records, 2012) ***½

By Philip Coombs

If free jazz was the affair and this album was the marriage, a divorce would almost be certain. The lawyers would have been called in and all parties lectured on what to say as to not lose everything in the settlement. The point I will try to make surfaces in songs like, 'New Ballad For'; a beautifully played tune with plenty of hooks and familiar melodies but a marriage needs to be based on love and when loves fades or leaves completely, we tend to go out and find a new variation or a complete replacement. This song and many others on the New Bone album 'Destined' fit into that category. They are easy to really like but difficult to love.

As with any marriage that has had any longevity, there are moments and memories that will play over and over in your head regardless of how horrid it ended. The opening track,  'We'll See', will have you humming the melody days after you have turned the album off and started listening to something else. One morning you will be frozen in front of a mirror brushing your teeth trying to place where such a lovely melody came from. Was it the music on the beach during the honeymoon or was it New Bone?

The musicianship on this album is at times breathtaking but it also seems that they are playing a very familiar songbook. Tomasz Kudyk (trumpet and flugelhorn), Marcin Slusarczyk (alto sax), Pawel Kaczmarczyk (piano), Maciej Adamczak (bass) and Dawid Fortuna (drums) sound like they could play this blindfolded. To their credit, and what seems to be a sense of the marriage starting to fall into complacent mode, decide to spice up the relationship by adding percussionist Jan Pilch and tenor sax player Tomasz Grzegorski. However, they too fall into some mainstream trappings with familiar Latin beats and comfortable solos and breaks, albeit played very well.

'Altanowa 18' again gives us a killer melody that is destined to get stuck in your head in no time. The solos get traded off seamlessly and sound effortless. Kaczmarczyk kicks off 'Like Me' with a wonderful piano mood giving way to a wall of horns. Can it be that this piece is predicting the end? It is more serious than the rest while generating some guilty emotion and a little darkness.

The moral of the story; buy your loved one a little something on your way home today just for the element of surprise.

Can be purchased from the label.