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George Mraz: Duke’s Place

George Mraz plays the whole bass, incorporating muscular, Ray Brown-like tones in the low register plus fleet, Scott LaFaro-like runs in the upper register. (Check out “Take the ‘A’ Train.”) He’s solid with the bow (e.g., “Come Sunday”) and he has a firm, warm tone all up and down the instrument. The album features pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Renee Rosnes on alternate tracks (except the title cut, which includes both) and drummer Billy Drummond. Chestnut is more eclectic, Rosnes more impressionistic and closer to Bill Evans. The players don’t attempt to mimic Ellington, rather they use familiar Ellington and Strayhorn tunes to play their own styles-which works out just fine.

Originally Published