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Available Jelly: Bilbao Song

Multi-instrumentalist Michael Moore is invariably interesting, whether as a sideman in groups led by Myra Melford or Gerry Hemingway, as a member of Trio Clusone or as leader of his own multifarious projects. Available Jelly consists of Moore on alto sax, clarinet and bass clarinet, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, cornetist Eric Boeren, Toby Delius on tenor sax and clarinet, bassist Ernst Gierum and Michael Vatcher on percussion.

Typically eclectic, the album’s center is held by Moore’s takes on various jazz styles, from the postbop/free (“Lovelock”) to an Ellingtonesque showcase for Wierbos (Moore’s arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Baltimore Oriole”) and a harmonically knotty, Shorty Rogers-ish piece (“In the Secret Garden”). Among the soloists, Wierbos and Delius take top honors, although Moore, whose cool improvisational approach is less to my taste, is no slouch. The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. Moore’s ensemble concept–the way he expertly balances order and disorder, his attention to detail, his overall vision–is the star of this show. A beautiful, poetic work.

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