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January/February 2005

Sala Brothers
Out of the Blue
Blujazz

There's something relentless about the Sala Brothers. Well, at least Joe, who plays trumpet and does all the writing for their new album, Out of the Blue (BluJazz). Brother Tom is the drummer for the quintet that never deviates from a circa-'70s, postbop, totally humorless, hard-edged sound-with one exception: on "Essence," tenor Bob Sheppard doubles on soprano, softening the timbre. "Back in the Day" and the title track manage to find a comfortable groove, but the rest are, well, relentless. One anomaly is "Eternal Flight," where the soloists venture "outside," but they don't stray too far from home. Sala's solos are good, but not memorable. Sheppard is quite exceptional. Pianist Alan Pasqua is more than exceptional; ditto for bassist Dave Carpenter. But why no drum solos? Tom contributes great effects behind other soloists, and after all Joe, he's your bro.

Originally published in January/February 2005
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