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July/August 2000

Matthias Lupri Quartet with George Garzone
Shadow of the Vibe
Chartmaker Records

Vibist Matthias Lupri's second recording also profits from the presence of two sterling sidemen, tenor/soprano saxophonist George Garzone and bassist John Lockwood. Lupri and his fellows, including his regular drummer, Sebastian de Krom, represent a later stylistic generation than do Gross and friends. While the leader's inspiration comes from Gary Burton and others of that ilk, Garzone and Lockwood are longtime colleagues in a group (The Fringe) that explores the limits of free playing. Still, for this date everyone was accommodating and the results constitute a satisfying amalgamation of elements, among them a blues with a quasi-second-line drum beat, some blazing bebop, exploratory free-like excursions and slow-moving ethereal passages in which the bassist and drummer interact presciently with the front line. Although Lupri is a solid performer in his own right, the presence of Garzone makes this album special. The latter's post-Coltrane virtuosity, both technical and musical, dominate the proceedings, whatever the stylistic context. A special rapport with the bassist and strong support from the other two rhythm players allow the saxophonist to demonstrate a mastery that raises the bar for all concerned.

Originally published in July/August 2000
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