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Ernie Krivda and the Detroit Connection: Live at the Dirty Dog

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A big fish in the small jazz pond that is Cleveland, Ernie Krivda is a fiery proponent of accessible, bop-heavy jazz. The latest CD from the prolific tenor sax master finds Krivda in illustrious Detroit company: the legendary minimalist pianist Claude Black, drummer Renee Gonsalves (son of Paul Gonsalves) and bassist Dan Kolton.

Culled from two sets at a jazz-friendly nightclub in suburban Detroit, this features long Krivda excursions into familiar territory. That terrain spans a diligent, bluesy “I’ll Remember April,” an unusually warm, romantic reading of “‘Round Midnight,” and a buttery take on “All the Things You Are.” Krivda’s thoughtful liner notes take a cue from late guitar master Bill DeArango, a Cleveland legend and Krivda soulmate who focused on the “middle part” of tunes. Occupying the middle is something the thorough, commanding Krivda does well, spinning long lines from sturdy melodies. His tone is big, his probes deep; though he goes on at length, the ideas don’t cease.

The lone original “A Blues by Any Other Name,” a sassy strut that gives the 78-year-old Black a chance to prance and dance, also shows off Kolton’s easy bass walk and highlights Gonsalves’ snare mastery. “A Blues” is a lot of fun; Krivda tends to pontificate, especially in his writing, but he can also play, and he does so here indeed. Producer Robert D. Rusch has captured the live ambience wonderfully, too. This documents a terrific, organic date from a saxman who’s been around the jazz block but hasn’t lost his freshness.

Originally Published