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John Gunther Trio: In This World

Saxophonist/bass clarinetist John Gunther brings a prismatic compositional approach to this date, which features his longtime rhythm section of bassist Leo Huppert and drummer Jay Rosen. Huppert-like Gunther-is new to me. He couples an extraordinary facility with an inventive linear sense, allowing him to serve as something of a melodic foil to Gunther. Rosen-with whose playing I am intimately familiar-swings and grooves hard yet maintains a relaxed insouciance.

Gunther covers a lot of ground compositionally, from the funky, odd-time ostinato-based “In This World” (during which Gunther on bass clarinet and Huppert playing arco switch roles to good effect) to the aptly named “Cowboy Type Tune” and free/rubato “Anthem for Hope.” His melodies combine the vaguely familiar with the unique. That’s a good balance to maintain.

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