Mike Moreno is a very talented mainstream jazz guitarist who is comfortable in a variety of contexts, but perhaps none more so than in small group post-bop improvisation. Joined by an excellent trio of musicians, Aaron Parks on piano, Matt Brewer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums, the group works through a variety of standards and originals in a classy and thoughtful manner. In retrospect, I was too harsh a few years ago about Arron Parks’ album Invisible Cinema, and after listening to this album and his work in the James Farm collective, I have really come around to be impressed by his style of playing. His performing on this album is excellent along with the rest of the group which strikes a modern mainstream groove from the start and rides it all the way through to the end. They touch on some different aspects of the music, from the swinging hard-bop of Sonny Rollins classic “Airegin” to the mysterious and haunting version of Joe Zawinul's “In a Silent Way” which was popularized on the Miles Davis album of the same name. Their originals work quite well also, developing organically and allowing the whole group to express themselves in solo and ensemble passages. This may have been something of an ad-hoc session, but hopefully this band can reconvene to record and tour in the future. They have a fine conception of the music they are looking for and play it with grace and dignity. First In Mind - amazon.com
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Joe McPhee – Flowers (Cipsela, 2016) *****
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