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Thirteen Ways: Focus

These two trio CDs have in common drummer Gerry Hemingway and a great deal of refinement. The WHO CD features pianist Michel Wintsch and bassist Banz Oester. Though Wintsch isn’t listed as the leader on Identity, he wrote the majority of the tunes and is obviously the featured player. Wintsch probably has had considerable classical training since he has a nice, light touch, tons of facility and likes to use the upper octaves and play contrapuntally. But there are times, as on “Anna-Marie S,” when Wintsch’s work is too precious. He could stand to be less academic, and his mixing of jazz and classical devices could be more smoothly integrated. He’s thinking though, using motivic variation and development. His work on “For John Coltrane,” which has something in common with Keith Jarrett’s playing, is nicely paced and inventive. Wintsch also builds lucidly on Oester’s “Driving Home.”

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