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"Featuring Lucian Ban on piano & direction, Jorge Sylvester on alto sax, Brad Jones on bass and Derrek Phillips on drums. Lucian is fine Romanian pianist, currently living in NY ..... This is his third CD as a leader or co-leader with Alex Harding, after two on CIMP. His great quartet features Jorge Sylvester on alto sax, another local great who leads several bands, including a strong big band. Double-bassist Brad Jones has become of the most in-demand players in NY over the past decade, working with the Jazz Passengers, Dave Douglas, Misha Mengelberg and many others. Their drummer, Derek Phillips, has played with Dave Douglas, but more than that I couldn't tell you. Lucian wrote all but two pieces here and each is special in its own way. "Hieroglyphics" opens with a quick, demanding theme that is constantly shifting tempos. No easy feat for the entire quartet who must stay on their toes as the changes constantly move. "Gentle Shifts Rain" is a mellow, poignant piece, which drifts gently by with a touching, delicate solo from Jorge's alto, direct from Johnny Hodges-land. Jorge's "Playground" exciting, uptempo tune, that balances quick bopping sections with different bursts of shifting structures. Lucian's "Symmetry" is a short, sweet duo for alto and piano and it features some superb alto with a rich, warm tone supported by Lucian grand piano playing. "For Giuffre" is an exquisite, dreamy song, which seems to float freely into space. I dig the way "Travelin' With Ra" moves in mysterious ways, balancing between faster and slower sections and broken into unexpected parts that do fit oddly together as one whole piece. Sun Ra must be smiling somewhere out there. Shirley Horn's "Silence" is another gentle, spacious gem, with more of that gorgeous toned alto that Jorge excels at. "Go For It!" is an aptly titles tune that opens at a furious tempo and keeps the quartet on their toes as it shifts tightly and quickly over some complex changes. I dig the way Lucian's solo moves in bursts of energy, from quick to gradually slowing down to a quiet, majestic solo piano episode. The bass and drums both take impressive solos by themselves while keeping the flow of the piece moving forward most impressively and seamlessly. "Asymmetry" brings things to a grand close with a fine piano and alto sax duo, with both players caressing each other with sublime beauty.
Bruce Lee Galanter, Downtown Music Gallery