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Bill Mays—The Inventions Trio: Fantasy

The improvisational element so vital to jazz may not be an a priori feature of classical music, but rare is the alert jazz musician who doesn’t appreciate the melodic and harmonic riches to be found within the earlier genre.

Pianist Bill Mays is one such player, and with Fantasy, he explores the confluence of jazz and classical musics with unpretentious intelligence. His cohorts, trumpeter and flugelhornist Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn, are essential factors in the album’s sagacious mix of compositional rigor and improvisational ardor. While the classically trained Horn successfully reveals her inner urge to venture beyond the written notes, Stamm, the experienced jazzman, makes splendid use of his dazzling tone and robust delivery to bring themes to life. Mays, for his part, seems delightfully free of proving himself worthy of either genre; he just goes his own confident way as player, composer and arranger.

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