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Drew Gress: The Sky Inside

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Well-traveled bassist Drew Gress, equally at home in new-music and straight-ahead environs, deploys on this project the same band heard on 2008’s The Irrational Numbers and 2005’s 7 Black Butterflies; two of the group’s core players, saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey, longtime Gress associates, also appeared on 2001’s Spin & Drift, the first Gress solo album to be released in the U.S.

The approach Gress takes on the new CD-adventurous compositions that juxtapose tightly structured sections with open passages, some jolted with electronics effects-is similar to that taken on his earlier recordings, although the work benefits greatly from the musicians’ considerable experience playing together as well as the maturity of the leader’s writing. Moments of great beauty and occasional dissonance are here along with brilliant improvisations, all stitched together in a manner that’s eminently logical if often surprising.

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