Jazz Weekly: "Hudson City Suite" Review

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MODERN JAZZ CREATIVITY-Jeff Babko: Crux, Scott Healy Ensemble: Hudson City Suite

February 7, 2013

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The nine part suite is a thrilling panorama of sounds and moods, with a lighter than air rhythm section that floats like a kite… — Jazz Weekly
Here are a pair of releases that reflect a modern attitude towards jazz. Both are lead by pianists/keyboardists, but you wouldn’t know it by listening, as each guy avoids the spotlight, keeping an attitude of team effort throughout their performance oforiginal material. The music has a link to the past but keeps up with the times as well.

Jeff Babkouses piano, Fender Rhodes and programming as he teams up with a core of Tim Lefebvre/b and Gene Coye and a rotating ensemble of guests. Ben Wendel/ts and Walt Fowler/tp create up to date material on “The International Client” and “Angst PetsI” (with Andrew Synowiec/g) and the music is fresh a

nd lively. Mark Isham brings loops and trumpet sounds on “Root of the Root”  and some edgy guitar is provided by Timothy  Young on “Luna.” Always swinging, but with a bit of a rock feel and adventurous spirit.

Scott Healy leads a healthy sized ensemble with a 9-11 piece team that includes Tim Hagans/tp, Kim Richmond/as, Tom Luer/cl-ts and Doug Webb/reeds. The nine part suite is a thrilling panorama of sounds and moods, with a lighter than air rhythm section that floats like a kite on “Central Trolley” and “Princess Tongora.” Webb’s bari sax solo on “Koko on the Boulevard” is rich and chewy, while Richmond and Brian Swatrz/tp deliver impressive sounds on “Franklin Steps.” Excellent, sophisticated and still accessible sounds.

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