Blue Reality Quartet: s/t (Mahakala Music, 2021)

July 24, 2021 at 11:35 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Blue Reality Quartet: s/t

Pairing 2 percussionists with two horn players, Blue Reality Quartet consists of Michael Marcus and Joe McPhee on reeds and drummers Jay Rosen and Warren Smith (also playing vibraphone). The vibes add a touch of mellowness, but “Chartreuse Tulips” is a short burst of free jazz which nicely balances hot and cool. “Joe’s Train” immediately has a recognizable, deeply bluesy sax melody, while the dual drummers seem to pull the rhythm in different directions. “Coney Island Funk” is an appropriate title — not flashy enough for Broadway, way more laid back, but still with a sense of Big Apple style. “East Side Dilemma” is a lengthier improvisation that constantly teeters over the edge, with the drums bobbing away and the saxophones melodically threading throughout, and then it all explodes into color about 7 minutes in. Final track “Warren’s Theme” is more meandering, and doesn’t quite feel like it really comes together, just kind of bumbles its way for several minutes until the album ends. Still, there are moments on the album when the musicians do click, and it does reach towards another reality.

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