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Jim Rotondi: Dark Blue

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Trumpeter/flugelhornist Jim Rotondi’s Dark Blue boasts an urbane, broad-shouldered sound that is fast becoming the hallmark of the Smoke Sessions label. Throughout these 10 tracks, Rotondi and his bandmates (vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist David Wong and drummer Carl Allen) interact with an offhand elegance you’d be happy to find yourself taking in at any big-city club.

Rotondi’s style is a fusion of flash and depth. He’s got chops for days but never turns them into a crutch. One minute, he’s whipping through a glittery solo on the firm-grooving “BC”; the next, his horn embraces the introspective last-call melody of the title track. (These two tunes are among the six on Dark Blue written or co-written by Rotondi.) “In Graz” cooks along with swagger and crisply articulated colors, and the trumpeter negotiates the gently bluesy lines of “Monk’s Mood” with heartwarming grace.

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