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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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  1. Bless You, For C.W. [5:24]

  2. Bachionada [8:12]

  3. Smile [5:56]

  4. They Say [6:31]

  5. Infant Dance [5:46]

  6. Icarus [9:52]

  7. Blessed Assurance [6:45]

Total Playing Time: [48:26]

Sarah Lee, saxophones

Jonah Pierre, piano/percussion

Jarrett Carter, guitar

Tony Steve, vibraphone/percussion

Ernie Ealum, bass

Cody Wheaton, bass

Evan Peterson, drums

Blue Muse is a talented group of jazz musicians from the Jacksonville, Florida area, and this is their debut album The majority of the ensemble have a direct connection with Jacksonville University as jazz instructors or former music students. This disc was produced by Dolphinium Records, an independent record label and recording studio associated with the Jacksonville Universityís Music Business Program.

The songs on this album are an eclectic mix. All are instrumentals of various styles, and four are original numbers. Bless You, For C.W. was composed by pianist Jonah Pierre, and dedicated to his friend and fellow musician Corey Wilcox (C.W.) The song is an up-tempo number with a short piano and percussion introduction, followed by the saxophone leading off with a simple melody that sounds like an odd rendition of Cole Porterís Too Darn Hot, before improvising down another path. Pierre also composed They Say, a cool jazz arrangement with vibraphonist Tony Steve performing a beautiful solo, and Infant Dance, an interesting tune featuring a slow walking bass and a dancing piano melody with various harmonic changes. Bachionoda is also a slower jazz ballad, composed by guitarist Jarrett Carter, and showcases some nice solos from guitar and piano. The tune Smile was written by Charlie Chaplin for the 1936 movie Modern Times, and a later version by Nat King Cole became popular in 1954 after John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added lyrics. The ensemble gives the tune a Latin rhythm to great effect, with the piano, guitar, vibraphone and saxophone each taking masterful solos. Icarus, the classic jazz number composed by Ralph Towner, is one of the few songs with a moon crater named after it. The ensemble performs a tight arrangement with lively and energetic solos, led by the fluid and dynamic saxophone of Sarah Lee. The oldest song on this disc, and my favorite, is Blessed Assurance, written in 1873 by Fanny Crosby and Phoebe Knapp. The song gets a new look here with a beautiful saxophone and guitar introduction, followed by solos on piano and vibraphone, all to a beautiful slow and easy waltz rhythm. This song alone is worth the price of the disc.

This disc was engineered and produced by Michael James Olson, with mixing and mastering by Paul Lapinski. The liner notes are brief and located on the disc inside covers, with more information about the musicians, songs and arrangements.

Bruce McCollum

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