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MP3 Billy Denk - Circulicity

Alternatively hot, cool, melodic and adventuresome jazz featuring guitar and piano. This release is accessible yet challenging listening.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (53:17) !
Related styles: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz, Jazz: Jazz quartet, Instrumental

People who are interested in Bill Evans Grant Green Kenny Burrell should consider this download.

Circulicity is the debut release from jazz guitarist and composer Billy Denk, featuring the John Weber Trio.

Guitarist Billy Denk is a new addition to the Chicago jazz scene. Denk founded Jazz on the Square in 2007 to promote jazz education and performance. With this release, Denk offers his interpretation of jazz with twelve original compositions.

The album shows its influences clearly and creatively. One can hear the guitar of Kenny Burrell or Grant Green on the Latin pieces, bop workouts, funky blues or tender ballads. The expressive piano work of David Childress is reminiscent of Tommy Flanagan and Bill Evans. The rhythm section, featuring Chicago jazz veterans Chris Ray on bass and John Weber on drums, channels Evans’ own rhythm section of Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Denk chose the John Weber Trio because of its mastery at interpreting Evans’ pieces, feeling that their interplay would fit his compositions.

Though the classic jazz influences are clear, the compositions sound modern thanks to the superb engineering of Josh Richter. His work can be heard on releases by Bobby Broom, Typhanie Monique and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. The sound is intimate, yet full of room to breathe.

The tunes alternate between displays of fiery virtuosity to spacious meditations. Most impressively, the songs were recorded live in the studio permitting the musicians to achieve daring, musically expressive heights.

The album opens with “Waltzing on the Square," a modern jazz waltz sounding as if it had come straight from an early Pat Metheny recording. The interplay between the rhythm section and the lead instruments is telepathic. “Bird in Flight” is a modern, Thelonious Monk-inspired tune that threatens to come unhinged, but miraculously keeps on track. Childress particularly shines on the solo. “Swing Lake” is an inventive, yet traditional sounding jazz tune based on a theme by Tchaikovsky. Preceding it is “Tessa Claire," a beautiful solo guitar piece inspired by Johnny Smith.

“Seesaw” is a teeter-tottering, hard blues piece that starts off happy-go-lucky, then takes a sinister turn into jazz jam heaven before returning to the opening theme. The title tune, "Circulicity" is a shining example of post-bop with the musicians stretching creatively. “Sunday Afternoon," co-written by Childress, may inspire one to take a Sunday stroll in Central Park on a beautiful, late summer day!

The rest of the disc is full of interesting song choices and inspired playing filled with passion. Denk''s original compositions are made even more interesting with the dynamic contributions of Childress, Ray and Weber. Consider this a fresh sounding release deserving of room in your jazz collection!

- E. Reeves

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