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George Coleman featuring Ned Otter: Danger High Voltage

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The nonet on saxophonist George Coleman’s Danger High Voltage features such names as Harold Mabern and Ray Drummond, and the group has obviously had lots of working and rehearsal time; the complicated arrangements are handled with aplomb and the group sound is excellent. Unfortunately, after repeated listens I just haven’t been able to connect with this record.

The soloists are accomplished, the rhythm section is impeccable and the material is generally OK (“Isn’t She Lovely” is a fairly middle-of-the-road choice to lead with, though the arrangement is certainly intelligent). But I have to say that I’ve actually enjoyed several records that were similar in terms of instrumentation and approach over the last couple of years more than this one, even though the musicianship here is at least as high. Despite the title, there’s just not much danger here, but the music does succeed in what it sets out to do, and devotees of highly arranged mainstream-modern fare, as well as Coleman and Mabern fans, should take note.