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Mark Weinstein: Straight No Chaser

A former salsa trombonist during the ’60s with Eddie Palmieri, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente and Larry Harlow, Mark Weinstein dropped out of the music scene entirely in the ’70s to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialization in mathematical logic. He re-emerged in the ’90s as a flutist and has since released a string of appealing Afro-Cuban- and Brazilian-flavored CDs.

But on Straight No Chaser, Weinstein is playing strictly jazz, and blowing with remarkable fluency and authority. As if to clearly establish his jazz credentials right up front, he comes out of the gate blazing on “Loverin’,” a swinging showcase based on the changes to the standard “Lover.” His world-class crew of drummer Victor Lewis, bassist Ed Howard and guitarist Dave Stryker handles all the unison hits here with precision and aplomb while Weinstein sails freely over the top. Stryker’s solo against Howard’s unerring pulse and Lewis’ masterful, interactive touch on the kit is outstanding, and the guitarist also cleverly works the changes to Trane’s “Countdown” into the fabric of this supercharged track.

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