Ben Markley

Second Introduction

oa2 22052

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

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For his sophomore release (and his first with the OA2 label), pianist Ben Markley put together a mix of old friends and bigger players on the scene for a set of original compositions and a jumping, driving feel. The album opens with 5-20, giving each player some time to work out a solo and show what the newly formed quintet can do together. After a nice post-bop introduction, Markley shows a nice touch with some blues-based soloing, passing it on eventually for a long solo by trumpeter Greg Gisbert that gives him room to do a little melodic blaring in the vein of Dizzy's work in the 70s. Dry lets Jim Pisano show what he can do with the sax on his solos, and it's a fine thing he can do, no less. The tone stays up from piece to piece, never dropping a beat or allowing a less-than joyous mood in the music. Only a couple of songs diverge: Van Heusen's standard But Beautiful is given a lighter working, and And the Wind Came (in tribute to a hometown lost in a tornado) is given a more introspective feel, though there's still a bit of a bounce in the performances. The performances throughout the album, on the part of all players, are outstanding. The compositions are solid, leaving no gaps. There's a touch of nostalgia tucked throughout the album as well -- the feeling that you've heard at least some of this before. Whether that bit of musical déjà vu is intentional or not is unknown, but it can help or hinder the mood depending on the listener. A solid set played by solid players with a solid pen behind it all, Second Introduction raises some good signs for the future of Markley's recordings.






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