Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lori Bell Quartet: Brooklyn Dreaming

By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Brooklyn Dreaming

I love the flute, in any flavor. One of the best things that ever happened to jazz, was the addition of the flute to the arsenal of instruments with which reed artists have become proficient. It adds a sound — and bright tone — that bring compositions to life.

Lori Bell is a virtuoso musician who excels with this “horn,” in both the C and alto versions. This release, her ninth, features her quartet: pianist Tamir Hendelman, bassist Katie Thiroux, and drummer Matt Witek.

Although Bell resides in San Diego, this album is a homage to New York City and the surrounding areas where she spent her early years. She’s both an instrumentalist and an expert composer; she wrote six of these nine songs. The other three are Charles Mingus’ “Nostalgia in Times Square,” Thelonious Monk’s “52nd Street Theme,” and Earl Hagen’s “Harlem Nocturne.” She arranged all of them.

You’ll immediately notice the quartet’s “lightness” and soft swinging sound. “Beauty” isn’t often used as a jazz descriptor, but that’s a decent term in this case. Bell delivers “happy” music, no matter the tempo; that’s due not only to her fine flute work, but also to  the equally accomplished efforts of her band mates. They’re all very tasty artists, and they swing nicely.

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