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Mike Lee: Above the Battleground

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This is a nicely surprising record. The lines are solid and everyone concerned makes strong individual contributions, but it is the group feeling that jumps out at you. To appreciate what good bass lines Ben Allison plays you have to focus on him. Ditto for Matt Ray’s piano and Tim Horner’s drums. I do prefer Lee’s muscular tenor work to his soprano and clarinet-in fact I think we may need legislation about tenormen doubling on soprano-but everything else about this record is a smile.

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