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Kenny Davern Quartet: In Concert at the Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque, 2004

If turning toward a new Kenny Davern album for novelty is foolhardy, rejecting it for its familiarity is equally dumb-witted. Davern offers swing clarinet playing of the highest order, his regal interpretations of standards from the first three decades of jazz history as bracing and intelligent as any you could hope for. Supported by a sympathetic rhythm team including guitarist James Chirillo and bassist Greg Cohen, whose idiom-shifting versatility is reminiscent of ’60s-era Charlie Haden, when that iconic bassist played with both Ornette Coleman and Pee Wee Russell, the master clarinetist is firmly in his element.

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