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John Yao Quintet: In the Now

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Trombonist-composer John Yao, a protégé of Luis Bonilla, makes an auspicious debut as a leader here, joined by saxophonist Jon Irabagon, keyboardist Randy Ingram, bassist Leon Boykins and drummer Will Clark. Together they enjoy a copasetic rapport on potent offerings like “Divisions,” which shifts in and out of a churning 12/8 Afro-Caribbean groove and double-timed 4/4 swing, and the ominous, organ-fueled groover “Funky Sunday.” The moody waltz-time ballad “For NDJ” has Ingram setting an atmospheric tone with Fender Rhodes and features Yao and Irabagon engaging in some intricate counterpoint against Boykins’ deep basslines and Clark’s supple brushwork.

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