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The Chico Freeman Project: Out of Many Comes the One

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“Ya can’t shut the funk up,” New Orleans’ redoubtable Dr. John has instructed us. But on this disk Chico Freeman sounds determined to do just that-or, at the very least, cut it off at the knees.

This might have been an enjoyable, if not exactly revelatory, journey through the mellow districts of Funky Town. Freeman and his ensemble create tonalities and voicings that sometimes echo the early Davis/Evans “cool” sound; laying that self-consciously retro (and genteel) texture over a contemporary urban funk backing could have created some interesting tensions. However, aside from a few sharply defined angles here and there, courtesy of Freeman’s tenor and alto saxes, Misha Tsiganov’s keyboards, Bill White’s guitar and Alexei Tsiganov’s vibes and marimba, there are few attempts on offer to tackle anything serious, let alone seek innovative solutions to any problems that might arise.

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