Fresh Sound New Talent
Alexis Cuadrado heads a pianoless sextet for Visual (Fresh Sound New Talent). Along with drummer Mark Ferber, Cuadrado takes up much of the space usually occupied by a keyboardist, giving the frontline players more room to maneuver on such pieces as "Black Tulip," "Camperdown Elm" and "Mario's Pencil." Trombonist Alan Ferber plays some jaunty, humorous and rich solos, aided by multireedist John Ellis and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Kris Bauman. Ellis' versatility gives the group a wider range of colors, as he not only offers some bluesy tenor sax and soprano sax solos but also chimes in on bass clarinet and flute. Guitarist Steve Cardenas adds harmonic flair and some interesting colors and textures. While they are better on the extensive works than on the shorter ones, Cuadrado's sextet makes a good impression on Visual.