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Corey Wilkes: Drop It

Lester Bowie’s death left a big gap in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but Windy City trumpeter Corey Wilkes proved an able successor on the rejuvenated group’s live Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City in 2006. Anyone expecting similar outward excursions on Drop It, though, is in for a surprise. Wilkes, who has also played with Kahil El’Zabar and the Exploding Star Orchestra, keeps things decidedly inside on his debut as a leader.

Things get off to a rocky start. Excepting “Remy’s Revenge,” a heavy groove penned by saxophonist Chelsea Baratz, the early tracks take a contemporary approach that sets a mood. But those tracks don’t really dig themselves in: “Touch” almost moves in a smooth direction but gets rescued by Wilkes’ buttery solo.

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