Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project: Kites and Strings (One Trick Dog, 2020)

May 26, 2021 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project: Kites and Strings

Jazz composer, arranger, and musician Ben Rosenblum alternates between piano and accordion, so that alone is enough to make me interested in checking out his music. Opener “Cedar Place” fluidly switches between lead instruments and styles, from hard bop to Latin and French accents, without sharply contrasting, and keeping up a joyous spirit. “Kites and Strings” is cooler and more vibraphone-centric, with accordion and trumpet providing warm hugs. “Halfway to Wonderland” gradually starts to work into some sort of hypnotic Philip Glass-type patterns right before it ends suddenly. “Motif from Brahms (op. 98)” is as close to a lullaby as you might expect, but then “Fight or Flight” is a fun klezmer-tango jam to invent a weird, wonky dance to. A rendition of the West Side Story standard “Somewhere” starts out soft and classy before taking off with trumpet and bass clarinet solos. Following two ballads which gradually swell up, including a cover of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia”, “Laughing on the Inside” is a more upbeat tune with trumpet which does seem to be laughing, as well as knotty accordion and bass clarinet riffs. Finally, the version of the Bulgarian traditional song “Izpoved” that closes the album is its most solemn, direct moment.

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