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Eliot Zigmund Quartet: Breeze

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Drummer Eliot Zigmund is the leader on Breeze, but you’d never know it. Zigmund has the most compositions, and is a prominent and masterful swinger, yet each contributor (saxophonist Mike Lee, pianist Gary Versace and bassist Phil Palombi) is so crucial that to suggest anyone’s dominance is folly.

Palombi, for example, is the most engaging soloist, adding a layer of intellect to Versace’s melancholy ballad “Homeland” and helming his own enigmatic “For Scott” with a stunning, idiosyncratic performance. Lee is the best composer; the opening “School Night” evokes the hard-bop ’50s, while his sensitive waltz “Mathew, in Three” is structurally immaculate, harmonically sumptuous and simply the most memorable tune on the album. Versace shares with Lee the title of most distinctive stylist, but the former’s subtlety, equal parts John Lewis and Bill Evans with perhaps a touch of Sicilian piano, brings a light-fingered panache to Breeze.

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