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Haidu; Noah: Slipstream

Up until this album, Noah Haidu has been best known as a jazz side man to Mike Stem, Ambrose Akinmusire and Duane Eubanks, among many others, as well as adding his beautifully poised piano style to Native Soul. Slipstream is Haidu's first solo venture, which sees him recruit award winning trumpet and alto sax pair Jeremy Pelt and Jon Irabagon as well as bassist Chris Haney and the percussive pair of John Davis and Willie Jones III who between them perform all the drums on this album.

Style wise we are in pretty straight ahead jazz territory, which relies on strong musicianship and composition to create eight songs that range from the smooth, to the angular. Considering that this is the first solo effort from such a talented piano player, it is a slight surprise that it is actually the trumpet and sax which dominate much of what is going on here, although obviously Haidu's performances are always of an unquestionably high standard. That in itself is not a problem, but I was maybe just expecting to hear more of him leading the band.

Songs like "Break Tune" are on the less smooth side of things with constant time signature changes and the swopping of lead instruments and it is this type of setting that really finds Slipstream in full flow. That's not to say that the easier to access moments such as "Soulstep" aren't worthy of attention, but they are a little more obvious and do cover ground that had been trodden many times before. As I said earlier though, the actual performances, especially from Pelt and Irabagon always ensure that things stay sharply in focus. Add to that great punctuation from the bass of Haney and drumming of great taste and no little flair from both Davis and Jones and there is much to admire here. That doesn't quite stop Slipstream from sometimes being just a touch obvious, but it does mean that the obvious never becomes boring. Good without being stunning, there's much on Slipstream that keeps you coming back for more, but not quite enough to make it the sort of album that has you reaching for the re-play button on its conclusion.

Track Listing
1. Soulstep
2. Where We Are Right Now
3. Slipstream
4. Break Tune
5. Float
6. Take Your Time
7. Just One Of Those Things
8. The Trouble Makers

Added: May 28th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Posi-Tone Records
Hits: 1371
Language: english

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