Craig Yaremko

(Jazz Excursion)

Review by Brad Walseth

The chordless quartet, saxophonist Craig Yaremko leads on the young artist's third album as leader, Sync is indeed in sync on this absorbing release. Featuring the multi-talented Yarermko on soprano, alto and tenor sax, as well as flute and bass clarinet, the recording also showcases a fine rhythm section in bassist Bill Moring and drummer Steve Johns, along with up-and-coming trumpeter Nathan Ecklund. The songs range from vibrant originals by Yaremko like the opener "Two Kings," the snake-charming "Trance" and the energetic title track, to covers of people like Irving Berlin ("Remember"), Jobim (a wondrous version of "Zingaro"), Monk ("Ruby, My Dear") and Lennon and McCartney ("Michelle"). The talented Ecklund also adds a couple of his distinctive compositions (the moody "Time Goes" and the swinging "Topwise") to this engagingly original mixture.

The album keeps the listener off-balance nicely with this eclectic selection. All parties are given opportunities to show their solo chops and they come through nicely. Although most arrangements would be considered mainstream, they bristle with creativity. The playing is interesting and assured and the interplay is exceptional for such a young group. The overall sound is richer than one would expect from a mere chordless quartet and the tasteful harmonic arrangements make a compelling argument that chordal instrumentation can sometimes be dispensed with without suffering a crippling loss. Part of the burgeoning NYC young jazz scene, it is clear that we will be hearing more from the members of this ensemble in the future, but don't wait: This is an enjoyable album that bridges the traditional and mainstream with varied styles and more modern sounds into a youthful celebration of the spirit of Jazz.

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