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Phil Brown and the New Arts Jazztet: Bright Side

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Bassist-composer Phil Brown is a Midwestern music educator (associate professor of Jazz Studies at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale) who, for the past 25 years, has led this aggregation comprising fellow SIU faculty members. The title track of their second release is an appealing modern-jazz ditty that recalls the successful formula of Bobby Watson & Horizon. “Vaiven” is an alluring bossa built around Tyler Kuebler’s flute work, in combination with Bob Allison’s flugelhorn. “Swank” grooves more solidly in Jazz Messengers mode, while “Underdog” injects an element of funk into the proceedings. Other highlights include the restful “Sanctuary”; the surging, postboppish “Sunk in Dars”; and the poignant ballad “Bittersweet,” highlighted by some lyrical, Michael Brecker-inspired tenor work from Kuebler.

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