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Cordovan: Highway 10 Blues

Composer, guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Greg Reeves is adept at creating moods: He frequently records advertising music for Sony, Saturn, Nike and many others. Using the hip-sounding moniker Cordovan for the first project offered by equally hip-sounding Lunaticworks Jazz, a Sony imprint, he attempts to evoke images of the American southwest on a CD packed with breakbeats, downtempo and ambient subgenres, all with a jazz bent. The vibe isn’t minimalistic, but the overall impression is as stark as the landscape that inspired it.

Reeves offers homage to heroes Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and Gil Evans. He strips Evans’ great “La Navada” of its orchestration and allows it to reemerge as a hypnotic tribal dance. The tune is representative of the CD’s retro-cool jazz-meets-chill vibe best expressed on “Mesa,” with Charles Burns’ slow-burn sax, and “Jackpot,” a powerfully percussive journey blending in trippy Rhodes and Moog sounds.

Highway 10 Blues thankfully lacks the esoteric-or-be-damned quality of the breakbeat masters and the smooth-jazz-leanings of properly chilled downtempo productions. The CD falls somewhere in between, making it a worthwhile journey.

Originally Published