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The Music of Reed Kotler by Tomo

This is not just another "friends" or concept album, but a talented collaboration of classy and sassy compadres making fine jazz. It starts with composer Reed Kotler's well-penned songs, each one a pearl on a necklace. Then, enter some of the finest West coast musician's in modern times to put a polish them.

All My Love's For You starts off with familiar territory reminiscent of the movie Round Midnight. The jazz quintet is alive and well here with a fresh uniqueness. The listener will find it all here. Melody, rhythm, and harmony.

Jazz guitarists will appreciate Koonse's work on Sweet Suzannah. His hornlike intonation grabs the torch passed by the late Wes Montgomery.

The third track is I Will Always Love You and joins Cunliffe, Shep, and Koonse in a Brazilian flavored piece that will make the listener want to curl up with a lover and a glass of wine.

Did I Ask If You Knew That I Love You? follows with Koonse displaying effortless articulation with Cunliffe's tasteful piano accents. A logical extension of the post-bop work of the 50's.

Someday I Will Find Her is a consummate love song that sounds like it was written "for the man" as Ellington was fond of doing. It fits Cunliffe and Koonses style like coffee and cream.

In a Restful Place Brings in the lively drums of Ferber, again demonstrating the seamless way these expert musicians partner with one another.

On track seven, we hear the tight rhythm section carry Sheps smooth phrasing of On A Warm Summer Night into the light. Koonse joins him with smooth voicing and Ferber provides added punch on the drums.

The next tune is When I Look At You, and is introduced by Cunliffe's tasteful piano. The whole piece preserves the straight-up jazz idiom that is difficult to find in today's world.

Love's Such A Funny Thing Here Cunliffe's legato figures herald back to Bill Evans and Mulgrew Miller. Oles bass playing is elegant restraint, that is enjoyable to hear.

A playful and inventive interplay occurs on It's Been A While between Shep and Koonse with Oles surfacing again on a soulful solo.

Some wonderful soprano saxophone work is exhibited by Shep on Joyful Times. The whole group pays homage to the songs' title, with improvisation at its finest.

The final track is entitled Waltz for Gary and in this reviewers opinion is the best recording on the album as far as quality. It is well mixed, well produced, and a real listening pleasure.

Overall, a fun and well constructed collection of songs. I've listened to a lot of jazz, but it's been a long time since I've heard this kind of kinship and closeness in a group.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tomo
  • CD Title: The Music of Reed Kotler
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Torii Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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