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Marty Ehrlich: News on the Rail

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There are more than a few bright spots in Marty Ehrlich’s 20-year solo discography; the St. Louis-reared multireedist has turned out product of a consistent high quality. This release, his second for Palmetto, actually ups the ante in some regards.

News on the Rail is a composer’s album, distinguished by a thoughtful pen. It’s also a study in timbres, thanks to the inspired combination of James Zollar’s trumpet, Howard Johnson’s tuba and Ehrlich’s clarinets and alto saxophone. Most of the songs flatter this frontline with easygoing polyphony. Ehrlich, at home in the more melodic corridors of the avant-garde, aims for something stirring but not strident, and succeeds.

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