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Muted Bebop by Rabbai/Betz Trio

This is muted bebop and I like it. Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and the other originators were uncompromising rebels who radically changed the harmonic structure of jazz. Technically gifted, they developed an in-your-face music that challenged the abilities of other players. More than a half century later, bebop is mainstream. Muted Bebop, recorded in Philadelphia during 2006 is cool, relaxed, but no less technically demanding. Except for "Half Nelson" by Miles Davis the tunes are Parker anthems, many played in Bird's group by a teen-aged Miles at the start of his influential career.

What is accomplished with just three instruments (trumpet, guitar, and bass) reflects the strength of the musicians. George Rabbai is a trumpet master who toured and recorded extensively with the Woody Herman orchestra during the eighties. Both he and guitarist Brian Betz are associated with the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz at Rowan University in New Jersey.

From the relatively unadorned blues, "Bluebird," to the high-intensity "Scrapple," Rabbai varies the musical flavor and salutes Miles through the use of a variety of cup, bucket and Harmon mutes. He and Betz are very much together on the tricky unison opening and closing choruses and both solo with dexterity. Bop without a drummer demands strong support by the bassist, and Steve Varner is just right. On "Half Nelson" the group is augmented by Jon Barnes, a promising young trumpeter.

Today's bebop ... and very tasty.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rabbai/Betz Trio
  • CD Title: Muted Bebop
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Dreambox Media
  • Tracks: Dewey Square, Scrapple from the Apple, Chi Chi, Yardbird Suite, Half Nelson, Dexterity, Hot House, Au Privave, Bluebird, Confirmation.
  • Musicians: George Rabbai (trumpet), Brian Betz (guitar) with Steve Varner (bass).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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