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Dan Nimmer Trio: Kelly Blue

In 2004, Wynton Marsalis hired 21-year-old Dan Nim-mer for his quartet and for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It is easy to hear what Marsalis likes about Nimmer. He has lights-out chops and is a deeply traditional player.

Nimmer’s second recording as a leader, Kelly Blue, is a curious project. It is described as a Wynton Kelly tribute, but it is more like a channeling. Nimmer does a Wynton Kelly so exact it is spooky. He not only gets the elastic snap of Kelly’s swing, his harmonic ingenuity and his scurrying phrasing, he gets Kelly’s single most inimitable characteristic: his touch. Like Kelly, Nimmer can make every note pop like a champagne bubble.

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