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July/August 2004

Jim Robitaille Group
To Music
Whaling City Sound

Jim Robitaille takes some measure of pride in his compositional skills. Every tune on this recent recording, To Music (Whaling City), is his. They all feature subtle shifts in mood and texture and a soft pulse to go along with strong melodies. A few of the compositions he has included here have won Monk Institute and Great American Song awards. The guitarist, who prefers a powdery tone somewhat recessed in the mix, seems always to keep his harmonic structures in mind as he solos.

Robitaille's sharp tunes would be the focal point of this recording had the guitarist not invited a gun like Dave Liebman to sit in. Liebman isn't on every tune, but his pungent, forceful solos absolutely dominate the disc. On tunes like "Parallels" or "West End Strut" especially, Liebman seizes and bends Robitaille's melodies into something that belongs entirely to the saxophonist.

Originally published in July/August 2004
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