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Alvin Queen: Jammin’ Uptown

Aside from a bonus track, this CD first saw light as an LP from drummer Queen’s Nilva label, based in Switzerland, in 1985. An expatriate living in Europe since the ’80s, Queen made the sextet session in New York with bassist Ray Drummond doing double duty as producer. Despite the title, it’s much more than a jam-session date, organized with fully realized theme arrangements and even some interludes and shout choruses, although the emphasis is on blowing. Queen keeps things crackling with his lean, snappy style, but hardly solos at all. The bonus track, “Hear Me Drummin’,” recorded at a club in Zagreb, Croatia, as a duet with conga player Hrvoje Rupcic, displays Queen’s fondness for African-influenced polyrhythms and boasts an admirable linear development for a drum feature.

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