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Jim Nolet: Syzygy

Far more contemporary in terms of texture, rhythms and harmonic source materials is Jim Nolet’s recording, which features not only the leader’s classically trained violin and viola, but also a shifting cast of guest stars over his basic quintet. Manning the core group are trumpeter Tim Hagans, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, bassist Darryl Hall and drummer Reggie Nicholson, while the “sitters in” include flutist Jay Collins, vibist Brian Carroll, guitarist Berry Wedgle and a cadre of Latin percussionists. Nolet, however, is clearly the most interesting soloist on this fusion-dominated date, a session primarily notable for the leader’s rich tone, his facile handling of Coltrane’s changes on “Central Park West” and “Countdown,” and his overall command of the situation. Had he only opted for a straightahead swinging approach, sans exotica, this might have scored more highly.

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