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Jazzmosis, Baker's Dozen


Published July 20, 2005 at 5:06 p.m.

(Self-released, CD)

Does Jazzmosis have a thing for Frank Zappa? The Milton-based outfit has covered the late, eccentric composer on both of its albums: the self-titled debut and its just-released follow-up, Baker's Dozen. A wide array of styles and influences, from traditional jazz to funk and blues, has made its way into the new mix.

The sextet features bandleader Jack Phipps on trumpet and flugelhorn, Steve Bredice playing saxophone and flute, Marty McRae on trombone, guitarist Aron Garceau, Andy Smith on five-string bass, and Dov Schiller on drums and vibraphone. Trading in dissonant tonalities, deep funk grooves and inspired soloing, Jazzmosis flex their musical muscles within the context of standard and original material.

What makes Jazzmosis interesting is the way they make those old classics sound fresh. Without straying too far from the original context of the song, the group adds a unique spin.

It's clear from the outset that these musicians are not only very comfortable together, but relish taking their music in a variety of directions. Kicking off with a clean, contemporary spin on the Dizzy Gillespie classic "Salt Peanuts," they prove they've got the chops to travel down almost any musical path. Still, technical prowess isn't everything. To their credit, the band seems to really "get the feel" of each composition.

Each musician also has the opportunity to shine over the course of the album. From Aron Garceau's clean guitar lines on "Boys Will Be Boys" and "Aria's Waltz," to Andy Smith's intricate, resonate bass work on "In Walked Horace" and "A Night in Tunisia," the solos are top-notch. Jack Phipps employs pristine brass tones, while Marty McRae's trombone work on "Serenade to a Cuckoo" is resplendent. Steve Bredice provides colorful saxophone commentary on "Watersign," a tune near the end of the disc.

Drummer/percussion/vibraphonist Dov Schiller displays outright versatility and a masterful technique. His vibraphone playing on "Cold Duck Time" and "Boys Will Be Boys" is creative and energetic, while his delicate percussion and brush work complement each other throughout the recording.

Jazzmosis are an innovative band whose tight arrangements, unique improvisation and vivacious solos are sure to please old-school and contemporary jazz fans alike.