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April 2001

Donald Robinson Trio
Straight Lines Skewed
CIMP Recordings

Robinson and bassist Lisle Ellis' ability to create a well-grounded propulsion from the barest textures, rhythms, and phrases is very much in evidence in their work with alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi on Straight Lines Skewed. Eneidi, who moved to the Left Coast in the mid-'90s after stints in the ensembles of Bill Dixon, Raphe Malik and others, proves to be a strong complement, as his raspy tone and exclamatory sense of line gives thematic weight to fragmentlike phrases. Most importantly, Eneidi is on the same page with Robinson and Ellis when it comes to imbuing their collective statements with a bluesy, gritty drive that relies neither on frenetic gestures or indulgent opacity. In this regard, Robinson's prodding brushwork is instructive. Still, when the trio goes full throttle, their streamlined intensity recalls Jimmy Lyons' recordings.

Originally published in April 2001
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