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YaY by Braff Blaser Duo

I first became aware of trombonist Samuel Blaser with the advent of his superfine, progressive-jazz date "7th Heaven for the Germany-based, "Between The Lines" record label. Here, the artist aligns with the very physical Brazil reared pianist Malcolm Braff who is a musician that has performed with trumpeter Eric Truffaz and bassist Alex Blake. On this effort, the duo projects an acute balance, spanning structured song-forms and improvisation, largely topped off with memorable hooks.

The album title refers to the union of ivory (piano) and slide (trombone). No doubt, they’ve crafted a cohesive musical relationship via pumping grooves and buoyant undercurrents. Blaser morphs sonorous lines with cunning improvisational phrasings in concert with Braff’s powerful chord clusters and shrewdly enacted rhythmic maneuvers.

Marked by quite a bit of pop and sizzle, the duo tones it down in spots, yet execute a thrusting rendition of "Caravan," where the artists redefine the primary theme via swerving dialogues and gobs of counterpoint. In other regions of sound, they delve into bluesy, and soul-drenched motifs amid avant-garde style workouts. Hence, they expand, contract and explore.

The harmonically endearing title track "YaY," is the album opener, and they close it out with the same piece, which was recorded at a live venue. In sum, the musicians convey a great deal of poise and strength flex while rendering strong compositions that impart a lasting impression. It’s a standout release, indeed.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Braff Blaser Duo
  • CD Title: YaY
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
  • Rating: Four Stars
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