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January/February 2005

David Weiss
The Mirror
Fresh Sound New Talent

David Weiss' The Mirror (Fresh Sound New Talent) is the follow-up to his 2001 leader debut, Breathing Room, and in part an homage to the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The first five tracks feature the same solid rhythm team as before: pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Dwayne Bruno and drummer E.J. Strickland. Weiss taps Marcus Strickland again on tenor but also adds a third horn: Myron Walden's alto. The resulting three-part writing brings this music a bit closer to the sound of Weiss' New Jazz Composers Octet, with lyrical yet enigmatic results on "Nostalghia," "The Sacrifice" and the title track. The session opens with "Stalker," a deftly disguised minor blues and later returns to burning swing with "Our Trip," a piece by the underrated pianist Kevin Hays. On the final two tracks, Nasheet Waits and Craig Handy replace the Stricklands, and the lineup expands to an octet with Steve Davis on trombone and Norbert Stachel on baritone and bass clarinet. "Love Letter to One Not Yet Met" is a dark ballad prefaced by a stately horn chorale; "Mr. Jin" is of course the Messengers-era Wayne Shorter classic, rendered deep in the groove. The leader's polished and purposeful horn lends narrative continuity to the entire disc.

Originally published in January/February 2005
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