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The Bottesini Project: Bottesini

The Bottesini Project is a free-flowing ensemble led by the Denver-based saxophonist Paul Riola. The lineup is a fluid one. For Bottesini’s debut album, a double CD recorded in concert last year, the lineup is a stellar one: Ron Miles on cornet, Jeff Parker on guitar, Glenn Taylor on pedal steel, DJ Olive on turntables and laptop, Scott Amendola on drums and electronics and Doug Anderson on bass. Though they use their share of electricity, the music they create is organic. They improvise their compositions on the spot, and they let the groove drive them.

The groove is the thing. It powers all they do, much as the groove powered Miles Davis’ early ’70s bands and, more recently, the music of Medeski Martin & Wood and Tortoise. Parker, in fact, has played with Tortoise, which is not a bad reference point, since Bottesini likewise negotiates the fuzzy boundary of jazz and jam rock. Witness the evolution of a tune like “Time Zone Change,” which shifts its rhythm chameleon style: You barely notice it.

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