James Gentry Quintet

Region: Southern California

Description: Straight Ahead Jazz,With Some Tasty Original Compostions.Music Received Local Air Play 89.1 University Of Redlands,Ca.On The Brad Billings Show.

Bio: Attended Berklee College Of Music In Boston Mass.Plays Tenor Sax And Clairnet, Studied Composition With Paul Schmilling And James Williams.

CD Information
Image of James Gentry QuintetearBuzz Review: Classic jazz, recorded with a subtle flavor of a 60's club, yet clean, clear, and full - very fluid. The James Gentry Quintet delivers approximately 40 minutes of gorgeous improvisation within the confines of melodic standard jazz support, and releases the 1999 CD, "Nica's Dream". At times you almost expect one of the Rat Pack to cut in with a classic croon - but the crooning is entirely in the hands of these fine musicians. Gentry, for one, is a top sax talent - he plays with a mature caress of the notes - both during melodies and as he's soloing - and the soloing is really the highlight here. Through modal changes and arpeggios, Gentry has the technical ability to play through his improv fast and furious, yet the times he displays his dexterity is as tasteful as we've heard - the notes go by like water - flowing one into another - as if they were one - tremendous. The entire band is a testament to how jazz bands should sound and how music can be interpreted. Pianist, Bill Fulton, has a tremendous touch and supportive feel - then rips the bars as they fly by during his soloing. Trumpeter, Jerry Rusch, is a highlight as well - his tone is the perfect complement to Gentry's - and his 'in the pocket' soloing - following the chords in perfect textbook fashion as he moves through his phrases - provides some of the security to the listener. The rhythm section is maternal - taking care to nurture the soloists while providing solid support within their own fine musicianship - Val Shaffer, on standup bass, moves effortlessly it seems, and his solo sections include on the edge passages where he moves between the 12 notes scale on his fretless - providing tension and resolution. There are three drummers on the five tracks. The title track is a 9 minute wonderful laid back swing jazz mover - ride cymbal aplenty - and relaxing while compelling. Track 2, "Cliff-Hanger", is another Vegas sounding jazz ride in music - cool. Track 4, "New Places", allows the musicians to open up a bit - as the slow jazz groover provides the space and the room for Gentry to shine along side his band, particularly trumpeter, Chris Tedesco, who shines on the cut. The final track, "Little Sunflower", moves like a dream - as the band moves between keys (two during the solo sections) and allows the instruments the ability to transition between the key centers in varying ways - from quick scaling passings, to melodic statements. One of the finest jazz CDs we've received, and certainly the most classic - great performances and wonderfully recorded.

 

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