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Andy Parsons/Gene Lewin/John Patitucci/Ben Monder: Flip!

On Flip!, coleaders Andy Parsons (saxophones) and Gene Lewin (drums), along with John Patitucci (bass) and Ben Monder (guitar), try to map out a terrain between the fast, smooth undulations of groove and the jagged peaks and valleys of traditional bop improvisation. The middle ground they find is a laid-back groove full of spaces in which to exercise their harmonically florid and emotionally cool invention.

Parsons wrote all but one of the songs on Flip!, and almost all follow a fairly clear pattern: Parsons’ saxophone states and repeats a melody built on harmonically ambiguous phrases, a middle section features solo elaborations by Parsons and one or two of the other players, and the theme comes back before the close for a few final go-rounds. “Tookish” shows this structure to its best advantage, as a winsome melody slowly builds a head of steam in Parsons’ sax and then gets treated to an angular, playful Patitucci breakdown before the melody satisfyingly returns.

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