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Andy Martin/Jan Lundgren Quartet: How About You?

The collaboration of American trombonist Andy Martin and Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren is a triumph of musicality over virtuosic display. Each has technical ability to burn; they set a North American land speed record in “Yesterdays.” Still, throughout this collection, Martin, Lundgren, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Joe La Barbera are in the service not of exhibitionism but of the creative possibilities in a dozen classic songs. They affirm that in an era of modal structures and improvisation beyond the edge of standard harmony, the song form is still an inexhaustible source of challenges and opportunities for fresh ideas.

Discussions of Martin’s work inevitably refer to his hero Frank Rosolino. The comparison is apt in terms of facility, control and range, but Martin has less acid and more bottom in his tone and a gliding approach to lines that make him unique. The empathy between Martin and Lundgren-previously evident in Martin’s It’s Fine…It’s Andy! (Fresh Sound)-results in brilliant versions of familiar standards including “The Song Is You,” “I’m Old Fashioned,” and “Gone With the Wind,” as well as infrequently performed pieces like “Tabú” and the overlooked ballad “A New Town Is a Blue Town.” Lundgren’s work here, elegant and thoughtful at all tempos, equals his best on record. La Barbera and Berghofer, an unsung giant of the bass, are superb throughout.

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