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BIPOLAR
Euphrates, Me Jane
Bipolar (no catalog number), 70:31.
bipolarjazz.com

Review by Steve Koenig

The first thing that strikes about this quintet is just how damned happy they are, rightly so and infectiously so. The first track, trumpeter/flugel Jed Feuer's "Bipolar," has a braided head for trumpet and sax, and although it isn't in that style, you could easily jump-dance to it. Pianist Craig Swanson arranged Debussy and came up with "Killer Beau (Soir)," another swinging track which seems more Bacharach than Debussy (this is a compliment), and cleverly ends in a segue to Benny Golson's "Killer Joe."

In addition to the originals, there's Fauré, more Debussy, Brahms, and Ludwig van (the presto of op. 30, of all things, with a taste of Brasil and klez!) - all of them kicking jazz tracks. The Bill Withers and Lennon/McCartney tracks are interesting in that they stick more clearly to the melodies, yet are not jazz-lite.

Clearly this is not what it means to be medically bipolar. In fact, this disc is good medicine for what ails you. I'd suggest skipping your next purchase of a (name your favorite '60s label) reissue and purchase this one by musicians who are kicking it as we speak. If they're this cool in the studio, I look forward to catching them live. Sample them on their website. Don't let this disc fall between the cracks.

Craig Swenson, piano; Jed Feuer, trumpet, flugelhorn; Stephanie Long, saxes and flute; David Ostrem, bass; James Windsor-Wells or Robert C. Kelly, drums.



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