Monday, April 18, 2011

FLAWED DEBUT

Trumpeter Laura Kahle is a noted arranger and composer. Kahle has written charts for many popular jazz bands and orchestras--the Branford Marsalis Septet, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Bill Lee and the Natural Spiritual Orchestra--are some that come to mind. Tuesday, Dark Key Music makes available "Cicular," Kahle’s first album as a leader.

Kahle wrote 11 originals and a bonus song. That song is untitled and is oddly one of the album’s bright spots. Otherwise, "Circular" is a deficient debut given the caliber of talent Kahle signed up.

Kahle put together a tough band. She deserves kudos for pulling that off. Saxophonist JD Allen and Yosvany Terry, bassist Orlando le Fleming, and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts play on “Circular”. But the date has deficiencies. The most glaring one is Kahle's failure to give her star-studded supporting cast any really interesting songs to play. Kahle plays the pocket trumpet. And she sounds like an amateur, struggling to keep up.

“Circular” has some good things worth pointing out. Allen is one of the top saxophonists alive. He could've burn down the studio on “20/20 Vision”. Allen and Watts get into a spirited exchange on “Touch & Go”. Watts plays an atomic solo after the exchange. That’s it for the album’s highlights.
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