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Balance by Will Sellenraad

Active within New York City’s fertile progressive jazz scene, guitarist Will Sellenraad’s third album featuring his venerable band-mates, imparts a cool, sleek, and gutsy methodology that also offers a study in prismatic contrasts. Moreover, the quartet acutely blends edgy choruses with spatial metrics that enable the listener to hone in on the respective soloists, sans any disorder or overly boisterous interplay. But Sellenraad and his band do rev it up in spots while injecting effective doses of dynamics into the grand schema.

The guitarist’s animated phraseology is akin to a storyteller, where he meticulously divulges a plot amid some bump n’groove stylizations and coiling single note lines. Saxophonist Abraham Burton is a strong foil as the twosome launches into airy bop and swing vamps while dishing out a laidback New Orleans shuffle, R&B slanted jazz vibe on "Stubbs." And they abide by a similar pattern on the following piece titled "Blewis."

Drumming legend Victor Lewis and bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa provide thrusting rhythms and pick up the pace when required. Sellenraad and Burton trade fours, and wondrously complement each other’s style and mode of attack. It’s music with a purpose. Yet they temper the undercurrent on the aptly titled "Prayer," where Burton delves inward via his soul-stirring work on soprano sax. Here, the musicians increasingly add some punch, and coat the solemn aspects with a positive demeanor. In sum, Sellenraad fuses finesse, power, and memorable compositions into a program that ages like that proverbial fine wine.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Will Sellenraad
  • CD Title: Balance
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Beezwax Records
  • Musicians: Will Sellenraad (guitar), Abraham Burton (saxophone), Victor Lewis (drums), Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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