Jeremy Long: In Suspension, John Yao Quintet: In The Now

Minnesota Jazz? You betcha! Ya gotta do something to hide from the frozen tundra for 6 months out of the year besides eating Lutefisk.

Saxist Jeremy Long fronts a trio with Hammond hammerer Steven Snyder and drummer Jason Tiemann through a mix of originals and a pair of standards. Usually, when you think of tenor/B3 bands, your mind goes towards beefy horns and simmering speakers. Ammons and McDuff, Smith and Turrentine. This one is a bit more angular and complex, more in the line of Larry Young, with lots of twists and turns, with Snyder’s organ making hairpin turns on material like “In Suspension” and “Shorter Tones.” They’re able to do some lyrical work on Ellington’s “Prelude To A Kiss” which shows their stronger side. More cerebral than celebratory.

Trombonist John Yao leads a wild and wooly quintet with Jon Irabagon/as-ss, Randy Ingram/key, Leon Boykins/b and Will Clark through eight originals. The mix of trombone and alto make for some delicious harmonies in the front line, and instead of the music being like most gardeners, namely Moe, Blow and Go, these guys mix their adventurous solos with some riffs and seques that keep you hanging in their with them. Songs like “Divisions” have that classic Mingusy feel where the band swings like there’s no tomorrow, but you can feel them tipping over the edge, and just never quite falling into the abyss. They can also go fairly lyrical, but this material is for the more courageous swinger. Not a bad outing at all!

Innova Records

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