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Jewels & Binoculars: Floater

Jewels & Binoculars is saxophonist/clarinetist Michael Moore, bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Michael Vatcher. On Floater (Ramboy), the trio tackles a set of tunes written by Bob Dylan-a musician about whom I know just slightly more than squat. Consequently, I can’t say how faithful these versions are to the source material (not very, I suspect). I can say that these guys are first-class improvisers, however, and their performances of these simple, lyrical themes are, in the main, quite lovely. Consonance rules here. This pianoless trio owes more to the Gerry Mulligan or Jimmy Giuffre small group models than it does Ornette Coleman’s. Horner and Vatcher are tasty without being treacly; the bassist is a nimble soloist and limpid-toned melodic foil to Moore’s Desmond-ish alto and tenor, while Vatcher keeps time abstractly yet absolutely. The tunes will mean more to the average folk aficionado than they do to a pop-challenged guy like me. I’ve never heard most of them-“Masters of War,” “Man in the Long Black Coat” and “Tears of Rage” among others-before this. In the hands of Moore, Horner and Vatcher, they certainly make attractive vehicles.

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