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June 1997

Mark Cary
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Arabesque Recordings

Some original thinking lies behind this disc, most refreshing in an era of young lions so steeped in the tradition they have no identity of their own. Not so Marc Cary: The D.C.-bred pianist knows who he is, and how to get where he's going. One of those is to build a solid band: Terrell Stafford on trumpet, Ron Blake on tenor, Yarbrough Charles Laws on flute and percussion, and a rhythm complement of bassist Billy Johnson, drummer Dion Parson, and percussionist Daniel Moreno. Solid indeed. Another is an ensemble conception that allows plenty of room for solos, but binds them to the arrangement in most inventive ways. To be sure, there are a few voicings in the course of a dozen selections that might want for subtlety, but these are swept away by brilliant moments, solos from Stafford, Blake and Cary himself, and the intriguing counterflow of time: a languid blues over percolating percussion, for example.

Originally published in June 1997
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