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Jazz Underground–Live at Smalls
 Impulse! CD IMPD-245, 1998

 Jazz babies live

Six new jazz groups live from Smalls, a Greenwich Village jazz club; a part of the U.S. where jazz lives, breathes and has babies.

We start off in a bit of silence, but a minute later "Kentucky Girl" heats up the screen with energetic drums and a fine sax lead from the Omer Avital Group. Good bass, even if it’s the only thing you can hear clucking away at times. But this  is a live album.

Besides, jazz, like classical music, comes in waves and starts and throws and misses. "Scenic Roots" (by the Charles Owens Quartet) sounds to me like a loose version of "Winter Wonderland" but I’m sure I’m wrong. Especially when it goes off away from the tune, vowing never to return! Well. Let’s just say that this one rolls over you. No emergency brake at  all in this model.

"Prince Albert" (Frank Hewitt Sextet) actually smells good. Fine horn arrangements while the piano beats up and down.

Good jams for 65 minutes. Frankly worth whatever they’re asking for it. Below $18 anyway. And it’s so well recorded that you can hear every note without worrying about smoke inhalation.– Ben Ohmart


Omer Avital Group, Charles Owens Quartet, Jason Lindner Big Band, Zaid Nasser Quartet, Across 7th Street, Frank Hewitt Sextet

song titles

Kentucky Girl • Scenic Roots • Hexophony • Everything Happens To Me • The Kettle Is Whistling • Prince Albert • Losing Victory • Phat

Copyright © 1999 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.