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Robert Jospé: Time to Play

Robert Jospe has one of those clean, spirited and tight-sounding jazz combos, with peppy assuredness, radiating enveloping healthy vibes belying the insufferable widespread practice of overplaying the Latin tinge. Time to Play (Inner Rhythm) is the drummer’s follow up to his triumphant Blue Blaze. The ensemble playing is an exercise in eye-catching, pan-rhythmic-intertwined jazz that captivates from its cooker opener, “Swingin’ the Samba,” where two fellows first leave their strapping scent, pianist Bob Hallahan and John d’Earth on trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn. Vibrancy of tone, bright percussive pulses, wide range and outstanding technique is the latter’s take on writing that is mostly festively cohesive, hard-charging and swinging. High-caliber Caribbean and Brazilian ethnicities characterize the central rhythmic thread of all the numbers, except for the straightahead scope of “Time to Play,” one of a handful of high-caliber compositions and arrangements by Jospe that thumps through after one of several advanced d’Earth solos. The pianist, however, manages to stand out among an enviable bunch of Virginia-based musicians whose collective and soloing excitement never decays into note blabbering. Recommending Jospe and associates is a rather undemanding task; they do that well by themselves.

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