Sam Newsome & Jean-Michel Pilc: Magic Circle

Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc teams up with soprano saxist Sam Newsome for some free and frisky readings of standards. What keeps the music intact is Newsome’s gorgeous tone, even when he creates effects with his mouthpiece, and stretches out the melody like Turkish Taffy, as on the warm but wide ranging read of “In A Sentimental Mood” and the honking one man reed section on “In A Mellow Tone.” Besides the aforementioned Ellington tunes, Thelonious Monk also gets delved into, with gentle piano assuages on “Misterioso” and rich reflections during “Ask Me Now.” A take of “Giant Steps” has Pilc splaying the notes like marbles thrown out of a glass jar, while “Auto-Schediasm” is as stark as a bright light during a police interrogation. Jazz standards reflected through a prism.

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