Chris Bauer and Friends

How High the Moon

Chris Bauer, harmonica; Ralph Pugliese, Jazz organ; John Licitra, guitar; Silky Joe Kieman, drums

Jazz harmonica player Chris Bauer and his group get off to a swinging start with "Groovin' High", a great piece to introduce each member of the quartet and establish a mark that continues throughout the set. "Alone Together" opens with a strong harmonica solo, Chris has a clear, well-rounded melodic tone, and his interpretations are always tuneful, Ralph Pugliese on organ knows how to add just the right touches to color the overall effect. I do not suppose that Duke Ellington and Co. gave much thought to the harmonica when writing "Caravan", but it could have been made for this instrument; some funky, electronically touched swinging in the solos from Pugiliese on organ and the guitar of John Licitra makes this sizzle and Silky Joe Kieman keeps a steady rumble on drums for a splendid, high-spirited interpretation. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" is laid back and tender, "How High The Moon" is upbeat; the vein is continued through such tracks as "All The Things You Are", "Take The A Train" and "My Funny Valentine" and finishing with "All Of Me". This is an uplifting and delightful set, the swing is infectious, and the group seem to enjoy what they are doing, conveying that feeling through to the listener. Ralph Bauer is one of the most enjoyable Jazz harmonica players I have heard. This CD will raise your spirits, and will provide a break from the usual instrumentation without any sacrifice in quality. Excellent stuff.

by Ferdinand Maylin

New Sounds - October 2004

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Copyright Jazz Now, October 2004 issue, all rights reserved Haybert K. Houston, Publisher Editor in Chief, Jazz Now

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