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Kerry Politzer Quartet: Labyrinth

This album does not contain any breakthroughs or revelations, but it is good company. It is crisp, intelligent jazz, thoroughly 2006, and its optimistic energy flows without being imposing. Kerry Politzer’s piano work is conventional, but she makes so many tasteful decisions soloing, and especially comping, that you just relax and trust her. Her 10 original compositions are like her playing: sure-handed and well designed.

The most compelling voice is that of Andrew Rathbun, on tenor and soprano saxophones. He is articulate on challenging structures like the samba-with-a-limp, “Rhodes Rage.” The title track is a maze indeed, and Rathbun stays with Politzer around a dizzying series of hard rights, hard lefts and U-turns.

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