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Arturo O’Farrill Sextet: Boss Level

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A free-flowing sense of adventure permeates this album, recorded a few days after the sextet concluded a stint at Birdland. It’s obvious that the musicians-including pianist Arturo O’Farrill and his sons Adam (trumpet) and Zack (drums), along with tenor saxophonist Livio Almeida, guitarist Travis Reuter and bassist Shawn Conley-were loose, primed and ready when they entered the studio.

The scope here is deep and wide, but the overriding musical theme is unity of opposites. Arturo O’Farrill’s original music here works to rectify apparently contradictory forces-genres, rhythmic and melodic conceits, degrees of freedom, pleasures both spiritual and sensual-by letting these disparate elements have at one another and converge into unexpected wholes. In both ensemble passages and solos, various components and ideas juxtapose, congeal, splay apart and then reform; patterns and structures evolve and dissolve in turn, never allowing any one to establish full dominance. It’s truth-seeking as dance rather than as ideology.

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