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Ian Hendrickson-Smith: Up in Smoke!

Altoist Ian Hendrickson-Smith elects to follow the Bird-like stylistic path laid out by such pacesetters as Sonny Stitt, Jackie McLean and Cannonball Adderley. The live Up in Smoke! (Sharp Nine), Hendrickson-Smith’s debut album as a leader, shows him to be a surefooted bop/hard-bop player with a nice, full personal sound. From the warm ballad “Portrait of Smith” to the down-and-dirty original “Up in Smoke,” and including some swingers and Latin tunes along the way, he demonstrates rhythmic confidence and a comfortable familiarity with the bebop vocabulary. Drummer Joe Strasser and bassist Barak Mori provide a hearty rhythmic stimulus for his charging solos and those of the superb pianist David Hazeltine. The latter’s highly inventive, extended-line improvisations, often employing stunning double-time phrasing, add immensely to the success of the recording.

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