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Michael Wolff Trio: Jazz, JAZZ, jazz

This piano trio album was recorded in Hollywood in 2001, in a studio (Private Island Trax) and by an engineer (Michael McDonald) better known for pop music than jazz. The slam of John B. Williams’ bass is deep and clean. Michael Wolff’s piano is absolutely life-like. Victor Jones’ cymbals sparkle in free air. All three players are close around you, and why not: Who really prefers to sit in the 48th row? It makes you wonder why more famous studios and engineers so often can’t figure it out.

Wolff’s band Impure Thoughts made an album six years ago called Intoxicate, finished early, and decided to “have some fun” by keeping the tape rolling and letting the rhythm section blow on nine standards they all knew. These tracks, finally now released, have the relaxed, nothing-to-lose attitude of the last set of a long gig, when most of the customers have gone home.

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