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Ralph Peterson - Outer Reaches (Onxy, 2010)

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New York City may be the epicenter, but Newark, New Jersey was the home town to a number of jazz greats. Wayne Shorter is the most well known, but trumpeter Woody Shaw and organist Larry Young whom are the polestars on this recording were also Newark natives. Drummer Peterson is the leader along with a strong hard-bop band including Pat Bianchi on organ as well Josh Evans on trumpet and Jovan Alexandre on saxophone. They open with a wonderfully swinging version of Woody Shaw's classic “The Moontrane" that anchored Larry Young's epochal Unity LP. The onus is on Bianchi, and he responds really well playing complex lines with great facility, and the horns are first rate. Also from Unity is Young's composition “Zoltan" which ups the ante to an excellent performance with fine solos all around. “Monk's Dream's" channels the great Thelonious and works well with a complicated melody that leads to a fine round of solos. So while this album does follow the standard hard-bop melody—solos—melody format, there is a lot to enjoy for mainstream jazz aficionados. Peterson's drumming is crisp and spot-on throughout, and Bianchi makes a real breakthrough playing very well on some very challenging material. Outer Reaches—amazon.com

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This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
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