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Paul Motian and the E.B.B.B.: Holiday for Strings

Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band lives up to a portion of its name. The E.B.B.B. features electricity-two guitars and bass (plus two saxophones)-but the material on its latest album moves even further away from bebop than on previous releases. While last year’s Europe reworked Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron and Herbie Nichols, Holiday for Strings leans more toward band compositions, save for the three prebop covers that bop and frame the album.

Most noticeable is the easy-listening standard title track by David Rose/Sam Gallop. The quintet renders it virtually unrecognizable, with the guitars and saxes elongating the phrases and creating an echo effect by playing out of sync. For listener clarity, guitarist Steve Cardenas shares the left channel with Chris Cheek’s tenor sax, guitarist Ben Monder the right with Pietro Tonolo’s tenor and soprano.

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