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Mark Buselli: An Old Soul

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Six years and five CDs ago, Mark Buselli and Brent Wallarab decided to pool their charts and chops and function on either side of a hyphen. Based in Indiana, the co-leaders and their 16 sidemen are forcing educators and jazz departments everywhere to take them seriously: one leader at a time. This album features Buselli as conductor/arranger on all tracks. Wallarab will be featured on the next release.

When an arranger spreads his gospel over an entire session, one gains insight into his technique, something that becomes clear with the very first track, “My Shining Hour.” Sections are tight, dynamics are shaded, you can hear baritonist Ned Boyd anchoring the reeds, bass trombonist Richard Dole doing likewise for the ‘bones, and bassist Jack Helsley is walking firmly. It’s the kind of clean, lucid writing and playing found all over the CD. Buselli’s flug and Helsley’s bass can be heard in unison on Mark’s original, “135 B. Chiswick,” a track that contains Buselli’s best flugelhorn solo. “Artificial Bebop” is a misnomer; there’s nothing artificial about the bop solos the arrangement inspires from altoist Rob Dixon and trumpeter Derrick Gardner.

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