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Bobby Zankel Quintet: Prayer and Action

Shifting more towards the center of contemporary jazz, altoist Bobby Zankel’s latest recording offers further testament to his burgeoning penchant for blues-inflected, rhythmic propulsive and tuneful compositions. Unlike his previous album, Human Flowers, the music on this outing evokes more of the edgy post-bop flowerings of Bobby Hutcherson, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

Driven by the muscular rhythmic hurricane of Ralph Peterson, Jr., Zankel’s impressive quintet fuels these noteworthy originals with sparkling energy and cocksure aggressiveness. On the oblique “Lotus On The Nile,” trumpet John Swana spits out hard-tongue notes like a youthful Freddie Hubbard while Zankel unravels a nervy soprano solo that snakes through Bryan Carrott’s tip-toeing vibraphone underpinnings. The explosive title track and mysterious “Where The Sky Meets The Earth” should further Zankel’s career as an engaging composer and inventive soloist. Highly recommended.

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