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MIKE REED'S PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS With GREG WARD / TIM HALDEMAN / JASON ROEBKE + MICHAEL MOORE / AB BAARS / JOOST BUIS et al -

Second Cities Vol 1 (482 Music 1087; USA)

Mike Reed's quartet People, Places & Things
(PP&T) features Greg Ward on alto sax, Tim Haldeman on tenor sax,
Jason Roebke on bass and Reed on drums. The guests for this disc
feature a number of Dutch-based musicians: Ab Baars & Michael Moore
on reeds, Eric Boeren on cornet, Joost Buis on trombone, Guus Janssen
& Oscar Jan Hoogland on piano and Felicity Provan on trumpet. Each
guest is on one or two pieces each. A few weeks ago I took a vacation
and spent some ten days in Amsterdam, Berlin and Utrech. This was my
second trip to Amsterdam this year and it remains one of my favorite
places on the planet. Hence, listening to this disc really makes me
smile and think of what makes Dutch musicians and Amsterdam so
special. It turns out that part of Mike Reeds' family lives in the
Netherlands and he spent a good deal of time there when he was
younger.

Each piece here seems tailor-made of the specific guest who is
featured and each piece was written by the guest at hand. On their
own, Reed's quartet is a strong, spirited and hard swinging unit who
play with that infectious glee that makes one feel great to alive. A
couple of pieces are improvised trios and they also sound fine,
focused and a perfect interlude into whatever comes next. On Joost
Buis' "Basil Outside", the group balances between structures,
recalling the way the ICP Orchestra (some of whose members are on
this disc) combines swinging and freer elements seamlessly. "What
Happened at Conway Hall 1938" has a sly, swagger that feels so good
with some fine solos from Eric Boeren and both saxes. One of the
highlights here is Ab Baar's "Gammer" which has all three reeds (alto
& tenor sax & clarinet) playing tight, twisted lines together, sort
of a circus for crazy folks. This disc ends appropriately with two
songs by the late Sean Bergin (who passed just a year ago in
September of 2012), South African-born saxist & composer who settled
in Amsterdam was long inspired by the music of South Africa. I say
appropriately since this music does capture that wonderful jubilant,
funky yet free vibe so well. These two songs leave us with festive
feelings, perfect for the holiday season, no matter what deity you
worship or not. It is not so easy to get me up and dancing in my
kitchen where my computer is but these songs certainly did do the
trick.

- Bruce Lee Gallanter

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