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Jack Wilkins: The Blue & Green Project

These two intriguing concept albums explore Americana themes. One is mostly celebration; one is mostly protest.

Jack Wilkins’ project is a unique attempt to combine jazz with Appalachian mountain music. The two genres prove to be surprisingly complementary. The inspiration for the opening track, “Song of the Anvil,” is a field recording of two master blacksmiths in Spruce Pine, N.C., communicating in the “language of the anvil,” hammering together in tempo. The ringing syncopations become an authentic, commanding hard-bop anthem, with strong, clear solo stories from tenor saxophonist Wilkins, trombonist Keith Oshiro and guitarist Corey Christiansen.

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