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ALBUM REVIEW: "The Miami Jazz Project"


The Miami Jazz Project

"The Miami Jazz Project"

ZOHO Records

Saxophonist/flautist Arthur Barron, soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, and keyboardist Abel Pabon waste no time in declaring their distinctive sound on this self-titled album. The opening tune, John Coltrane's fairly obscure "Dahomey Dance," features eerie harmonies, and no shortage of melody-stretching solos. When the two horn players are not charming snakes, Pabon takes off on a wild ride on the keys.

By the next slinky composition, "Lordy Lourdes," Pabon's electric piano is washing over the music. Jazz purists might find this album a little too electric and a little too catchy. But we're a safe distance from the 1970's and musicians are realizing that fusion wasn't all bad. The Miami Jazz Project pays homage to that era and it sure is fun.

The Coltrane-like sound returns midway through the record in the form of Barron's "Mr. Q," a tune reminiscent of Coltrane's "Naima." The album gets positively weird in Pabon's Tibetan chant-like "Blessings Eternal" which is used as to a prelude to Liebman's "Slow Dance On The Killing Ground." Barron, Liebman and Pabon sound like they're having a ball playing these tunes. They are ably supported by Josh Allen and Eric England on bass; Michael, drums, and Alfredo Chacon, vibraphone and percussion.