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Bill Cunliffe/Gary Foster: It’s About Love

Marketing a CD of original tunes by an unknown writer is quite a challenge. But pianist Bill Cunliffe and saxophonist Gary Foster, along with bassist Jeff D’Angelo and drummer Tim Pleasant, provide a smooth introduction to composer Reed Kotler.

Cunliffe provided charts for all 13 tracks on the day of the session. Now we’re not talking about a L.A. Philharmonic-size band, but Kotler does not write simple changes and he does not always write in basic forms. “Song for Bill C” is not AABA, for example-it’s cast in ABCD-but as Kotler observes, it “seems to hang together quite nicely.” Occasionally, he’ll base a melody on complex changes, such as “Nine Steps,” which uses the same chord progressions as Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” but as Kotler points out, in his melody “over every major seventh chord, the first note is the ninth degree of the chord, hence the name.”

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