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Steve Sandberg Quartet: Alaya

Steve Sandberg is a name synonymous with quality as he has solidified his reputation in the jazz world having arranged and composed music for such luminaries as Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz and Daniel Ponce. The three time Emmy nominated pianist has also been involved with children's television having done the music for such shows as Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go. He formed the Steve Sandberg Quartet in 2016 and now has come out with their first album titled Alaya.

Sandberg and his compatriots perform marvelously on the opening track "Janos", an upbeat affair featuring stellar violin. The melody reminds of summer, light and airy and the playing from all members shines. As the music slows bassist Michael O'Brien slips in an eventful solo. On "Maurice", a reference to French composer Maurice Ravel, the playing is more subdued and much less urgent and the piano solo is lovely. The way the violin and piano playfully interact is a real high point. Mauricio Zottarelli's drum work is powerful yet exhibiting an ingrained finesse that fits the song beautifully. With the soft "Weeping Bear" the sound is peaceful and soothing gently flowing from note to note. Again, the violin and piano create another wonderful melody. The band pick up the pace with "Iboga", this one having an ethnic sound, especially the violin work. The tempo does slow into a leisurely section only to slowly build again where all the band show their formidable chops.

There are more highlights to be discovered so I urge all jazz fans to check this out. I'm sure you will be suitably impressed. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Janos (6:15)
2. Maurice (6:01)
3. Weeping Bear (5:20)
4. Iboga (5:49)
5. Annie (6:22)
6. Eusébio (5:48)
7. Mazur (6:00)
8. Black Ivory (3:42)

Added: September 12th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2368
Language: english

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