Most of the time you think of a harp in the jazz scene, you either think of contrived bop lines that try too hard to fit in, or wild strums by the likes of Alice Coltrane. Carol Robbins is the one artist who truly makes it work, knowing when to strum, pick, pluck and glide on this collection of nine originals. She’s released a handful of albums before, and they are all of the highest standards, this time, as usual, with some of LA’s finest in Billy Childs/p-key, Bob Sheppard/ax-cl, Larry Koonse/g, Curtis Taylor/tp, Darek Oles/b, Gary Novak/dr and Ben Shepherd/eb.
All of the songs have a Kind of Blue-ish mix of loose and cohesiveness, and it works amazingly well on the delicate “The Flight” as Sheppard’s’ soprano and Taylor’s delicate horn deftly weave in and out of Robbin’s wafting drapery. Koonse’s guitar gently strides with Taylor’s warm horn on the flowing and graceful “Deep Canyon” while the band gets a bit CTI-funky with Childs on the Fender and Shepherd’s electric bass gets soulful on the title track.
Keeping all of this together is Shepherd’s bass and Novak’s ride cymbal, which create a jogger’s pulse on the pieces such as the deft “The Chill” with Sheppard’s puffing tenor and the restless “Trekker.” Koonses’ delicate and dainty guitar canters with clarinet and morning droplets from the leader on”Grey River” while a hp groove closes the album on “The Local.” The themes and solos weave in and out like images that you observe on a country road. You enjoy the view, and absorb as much as you can while on the journey. Wonderful sounds and moods.
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