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Mark Colby: Reflections

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Stan Getz is tenor saxophonist Mark Colby’s stylistic model, and on previous recordings his debt to Getz has been obvious. It’s not a bad model-everyone doesn’t have to sound like Coltrane-especially when you, like Colby, have a strong lyrical bent and can inhabit a ballad like Johnny Mandel’s “Close Enough for Love” or Cole Porter’s “So in Love” as convincingly as Colby does here. But he also tries to change things up a bit, so the quartet with piano-bass-drums so favored by Getz shares space with a piano-less trio and quartet (with guitar).

The trio especially brings out a different side of Colby: more percussive with a harder tone on an original blues; more rhythmically playful, almost Sonny Rollins-like, on a teasing version of “Like Someone in Love”; and more open emotionally on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The two tracks with guitarist Mike Pinto are a study in contrasts: “Desafinado” conjures Getz but with a loosey-goosey rhythmic vibe far from the original bossa nova, while Ornette Coleman’s “Blues Connotation” has Colby reaching toward a harmolodic sound and Pinto channeling a Theremin.

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