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Rob Blakeslee Quartet: Waterloo Ice House

Northwest trumpeter and fluegelhornist Ron Blakeslee explores the musical frontier on his first album on the Louie label. He does so with a team of fellow adventurers including tenor saxophonist Rich Halley, bassist Clyde Reed and drummer Dave Storrs. The album of Blakeslee originals opens sparsely with Reed’s bass. Even when the other musicians join in the creative effort, a sense of emptiness prevails, with the spaces between notes made as significant as the tones themselves. Amusingly, the tune is called “Just What’s Written.” “Blinkey’s Room” is a wilder, more frivolous locale, a place where Blakeslee and Halley roam unrestrained, whether on the refrain or as they leap into solos. While dissonance often reigns, bassist Reed holds things down. He is featured on duos with Blakeslee’s far-reaching horn and is a strong presence in the combo as Halley takes flights.

Waterloo Ice House takes some warming up to. It is at its best when the team takes the creative journey with a spirited sense of adventure.

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