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Mike Moreno: Lotus

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Between Billy Strayhorn and Woody Shaw, the Indian lotus flower adorning guitarist Mike Moreno’s fifth album has quite the history in jazz. But Moreno’s music therein has more in common with the mythological Greek lotus-when consumed, it evoked a pleasantly dreamy, lazy state.

Lazy is perhaps the wrong word for Lotus; much of it is slow and delicately structured, but the end result suggests romance and longing more than laziness. Melodies tend toward simplicity, like the short, gentle repeats Moreno and pianist Aaron Parks double on “The Hills of Kykuit” or the oblong but equally gentle variations of “The Empress.” The rhythms (courtesy of bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Eric Harland) and moods, meanwhile, tend toward … well, gentleness. “Lotus” and “Can We Stay Forever” have grooves that hold on firmly, but still never rise above a whisper. It so permeates the album that it’s the deviations from it that one notices. 

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