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May 2001

Joel Miller
And Then Everything Started To Look Different
Effendi Records

Although there's nothing too earth-shattering about tenor saxophonist Joel Miller's And Then Everything Started to Look Different, the band sounds well-rehearsed, and it seems like all the participants got a chance to blow and have some fun at the session. It's a solid straightahead date with trumpeter Aron Doyle, alto saxophonist Christine Jensen, keyboardist John Sadowy, bassist Tommy Babin and drummer Karl Jannuska.

I like the way the rhythm and tempo change happens on "For Joe," an original by Miller that leads off the disc. Miller's pronounced Joe Henderson influence is shown in the way he attacks his solo with brainy gusto. On "Rain Crow Bill" and "Birthday Song," the group references the folk-jazz style popularized by guitarist Bill Frisell.

Jensen continues to evolve her engaging alto saxophone personality, and Sadowy manages to introduce Fender Rhodes into the ensemble without inadvertently causing a time warp back to 1973. Overall, this is a decent mainstream effort, and a classy third CD from Miller.

Originally published in May 2001
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