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The Microscopic Septet: Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me-The Micros Play the Blues

Veteran New York City jazz combo The Microscopic Septet have been toiling around the scene since the early '80s with their offbeat brand of swing, and here on their new release for Cuneiform Records the band combine their love for the blues and blend that into their already eclectic and jazzy approach. The line-up here in 2017 consists of:

Phillip Johnston soprano saxophone
Don Davis alto saxophone
Mike Hashim tenor saxophone
Dave Sewelson baritone saxophone
Joel Forrester piano
Dave Hofstra bass
Richard Dworkin drums

Many of the arrangements here fluctuate between upbeat, swinging jazz to mid-paced sultry blues tinged numbers with a big band feel. The slow shuffle of "Dark Blue" is just intoxicating, the majestic piano providing the framework for squonking sax solos, while the more energetic "Cat Toys" allow the band to cook and fire off catchy melodies and alluring rhythms. Those intricate grooves on "Don't Mind if I Do" drive the soloists to soaring peaks, while the can't miss melodies of "PJ in the '60s" will instantly get your tapping your toes, the lead sax & piano work a joy and Dworkin's brief drum solo flashy yet economical. It's like 'Booker T & the MG's meets Chicago' on the raging "When It's Getting Dark", and the hazy, lazy "12 Angry Birds" takes bluesy lounge jazz to another level. Those who love the 'big band' sound will get a kick out of "Quizzical", one of the more raucous tracks here complete with commanding melodies from the four man saxophone army, intense walking bass lines, and a majestic piano flight courtesy of Forrester.

Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me-The Micros Play the Blues is a very enjoyable collection of bluesy jazz & swing from this always dependable New York City act. If you haven't yet investigated The Microscopic Septet, here's a good starting point.

Track Listing
1. Cat Toys. 04:33
2. Blues Cubistico 02:47
3. Dark Blue 06:34
4. Don't Mind If I Do 04:04
5. Migraine Blues (for Wendlyn Alter) 04:50
6. PJ in the 60s 06:21
7. When It's Getting Dark 04:34
8. Simple-Minded Blues 05:43
9. After You, Joel 02:28
10. 12 Angry Birds 04:26
11. Quizzical 05:51
12. Silent Night 06:21
13. I've Got a Right to Cry 03:16

Added: February 19th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 1190
Language: english

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