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January/February 2004

Rick Germanson Quintet
Heights
Fresh Sound New Talent

If the past is prologue, then the future is unlimited for Rick Germanson. After planting solid classical roots and woodshedding in strictly jazz literature, the Milwaukee native made all the proper moves, switching from the Big Cheese to the Big Apple. That was six years ago, during which he played and recorded with all the right people. Now, at 30, his chops are ready for his CD debut as leader: Heights (Fresh Sound New Talent). He's blessed by tons of technique, taste and clarity of right-hand runs, an appreciation for complex rhythms and a love for Latin. (Check all those blessings out on Miles Davis' "Tune Up.") He can handle supersonic speeds ("Lover"); write a love poem in 3/4 to his wife, a classical violinist, with "Susan's Waltz"; cleverly disguise "I'll Remember April" as "April Mambo"; and show writing chops as well as montuno moments during his "Game Theory" with the help of very supportive friends: trumpeter Brian Lynch, bassist John Webber, drummer George Fludas and percussionist Luis Diaz.

Originally published in January/February 2004
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