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Brooklyn Jazz Underground: A Portrait of Brooklyn

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Members of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a tightly knit cooperative of bandleaders and composers, join forces on this formidable outing. The quintet features the two tenors of Adam Kolker and Dan Pratt, who exchange furiously on Pratt’s “Buttermilk Channel.” Trumpeter Dan Smith’s irrepressibly swinging “Starr St.” showcases the crisply interactive drumming of Rob Garcia and features the three horn players in a series of crackling solos. Kolker’s “JV” is a loose, Ornette Coleman-inspired ditty underscored by Garcia’s rubato impulses and featuring exhilarating solos from Smith, Kolker and Garcia. By contrast, Kolker’s “Totem” reveals his most lyrical side while also showcasing bassist Anne Mette Iversen’s considerable improvising skills.

Garcia’s stately bit of Americana, “1898,” is a beautiful vehicle for Smith, who also contributes the jaunty swinger “The Hill.” Iversen’s groove-heavy “Osgood in Brooklyn” segues neatly to a chamber interlude that finds her bowing against the fugue-like horns, and her whimsical “The Cherry Bees” has Kolker and Pratt on flutes playing intricate counterpoint to Smith’s trumpet. Pratt’s burning closer, “The Cyclone,” is a kinetic vehicle for the composer’s raging tenor, Smith’s bristling trumpet work and Garcia’s whirlwind drumming. Marvelous writing, remarkable chemistry, rewarding listening.

Originally Published