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Gary Smulyan: Smul’s Paradise

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Of all the things that the best jazz musicians can do that the rest of us can’t, one of the most mysterious is to go into a studio with a new group and nail a record like this one in a few hours.

The tight band that had never played together before, and that never rehearsed, is Gary Smulyan (baritone saxophone), Mike LeDonne (Hammond B3), Peter Bernstein (guitar) and Kenny Washington (drums). In the liner notes, Smulyan says that he grew up loving organ combos, but that collaborations between baritone saxophonists and organ trios have been exceedingly rare. Smul’s Paradise proves how, in the right hands, a baritone’s dark granite, a B3’s bright liquidity and a guitar’s linear incisiveness make a beautiful balance.

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