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James Weidman: Three Worlds

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Pianist James Weidman calls his new album Three Worlds in reference to the variety of contexts brought together on the disc-a quintet with trombonist Ray Anderson and clarinetist/alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich on the frontline, a mellower quartet with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, and a few offerings from the pared-down piano-trio format. At the core of all the groupings is the confident rhythm section of organic-feeling drummer Francisco Mela and bassist Brad Jones. But the album title could also allude to a plurality of stylistic approaches and vibes, from just-left-of-mainstream musings to risk-taking collective improvisation and even soft-edged ballad turf.

After commencing with quartet tracks-a rough-hewn variation on the classic jazz quintet format, with Anderson’s signature style on trombone replacing standard trumpet-things go decidedly “out” on “Razz 2.0,” where a collective free zone evolves into breakneck calypso rhythm. By contrast, on the next track, “Questful,” Hoggard enters the disc on a lyrical, balladic note. “Our January” evolves from an open-ended intro to an odd-time modal ostinato, further expanding the range of attitudes contended with on Three Worlds.

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