Gregg Keplinger and Rick Mandyck

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Jon Davis, Expose

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The sax/drums duo is not an especially common one in jazz. By its very nature, this combination lends itself to very exploratory playing, even when pre-existing compositions are involved. In this particular case, tenor saxist Mandyck and drummer Keplinger take on a couple of Coltrane tunes, Ellington's "I Can't Get Started" and three Mandyck originals. Keplinger uses his full kit, and isn't afraid to hit the drums, as on the trio recording with Daniel Carter and Reuben Radding, though he favors a bit less activity on much of this. That being said, there are some excellent moments, as on the drums-only first portion of Mandyck's "Intersection", which has a hint of Latin flavor. Mandyck alternates between ripping out smooth melodic lines and overblowing for gritty, screechy tones, which luckily don't dominate the proceedings. His compositions favor slow-moving lines over complex boppish note-fests. While the music is often interesting here, most of it would be better suited as interludes in an expanded setting, where the sax and drums take a little time together and the pianist and bassist take a break. On its own, it's just a bit much for all but the most devoted listeners.






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