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Alex Riel: Rielatin

Riel performed and recorded with Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon in the ’60s during the saxophonists’ years in Copenhagen. Thirty-five years later, the Danish drummer still keeps stellar company, as this album shows. Produced by Chris Minh Doky (who plays bass on the album), the CD includes tenor saxophonists Mike Brecker and Jerry Bergonzi, guitarist Mike Stern and pianist Kenny Werner.

Riel is a tasty player who occasionally recalls Billy Higgins. His lone extended feature is a solo performance called “In My Own Sweets Way,” dedicated to trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison and drummer Zutty Singleton. (Edison could sing like Singleton soloed on the snare drum, Riel says in the liner notes.) As an accompanist, Riel can be scrappy (as he is behind Brecker on a fast “Bessie’s Blues”) or understated.

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