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May 2005

The Jim Seeley/Arturo O'Farrill Quintet
The Jim Seeley/Arturo O'Farrill Quintet
Zoho

The overall impression one gets from listening to this disc is akin to walking into a library or a well-run doctor's office. There's a lot going on, but nobody present is about to make a lot of noise about it.

The eight originals by trumpeter Jim Seely traverse a fairly wide stylistic landscape, encompassing bossa, blues and some hard-bop forms (as on the opening track, "Truth Juice"), and reedman Jed Levy, bassist Andy Gonzalez and drummer Phoenix Rivera ably serve co-leaders Seely and pianist Arturo O'Farrill throughout.

The album begins in rollicking fashion with "Truth Juice." Seeley, latching onto a bluesy opening vamp by O'Farrill, is joined by Levy on tenor, throws out an authoritative trumpet solo. But such uninhibited flights are few. "Solita" and "Starry Night" carry soft bossa lines, with Levy switching from sax to flute on the latter. "Cha Cha Un-Uh" breezes through gently playful Latin rhythms. "New Meaning" is a straight blues that begins with Seely offering some rapid-fire trumpet choruses and Levy chipping in with some Ben Webster-like tenor notes.

The band manages to break the decorum on the album's standout track, "Little General," which begins with a lively theme played by Seely and Levy before settling into a jaunty straightahead groove peppered by some sprightly soloing by the leaders.

Originally published in May 2005
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