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Josh Lawrence: Triptych (Posi-Tone)

A review of the trumpeter's album dedicated to artist Wassily Kandinsky

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Triptych by Josh Lawrence
The cover of Triptych by Josh Lawrence

Trumpeter Josh Lawrence is as straight-ahead as it gets—making it seem a little odd at first that he would dedicate a three-part suite to abstract expressionist Wassily Kandinsky. But then, jazz was at its most commercial when, like Kandinsky’s art, it was branded “degenerate” by the Nazi regime. Perhaps it’s appropriate after all.

“Lost Works” (labeled herein as “Compositions #1-3,” after lost Kandinsky paintings) is one of three suites on Triptych. It’s also the most cohesive. Two joyful swingers and a waltz ballad, all 32 bars, each have fine work by Lawrence, alto saxophonist Caleb Curtis, and pianist Luques Curtis. All three soloists submit album-best solos on “#2,” the ballad; drummer Anwar Marshall does the same on “#3.”

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