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Worth a listen

In the Morning
In the Morning
By Michael Blanco

Fresh Sound New Talent: 2007

This review first appeared in the March 1, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Transplanted San Diego native Michael Blanco, now New York-based, places himself among the top jazz bassists and composers with his new album. Polished, confident, imaginative, "In the Morning" is a mature album of straight-ahead jazz. Blanco resists the temptation many bassists face when leading their own sessions: There are precious few bass solos here, nor is the bass mixed higher than it would be were his name not on the album's cover.

Instead, the focus is on the music and the lead instrumentalists. Blanco wrote all 10 compositions here, and if there's nothing earth-shattering here (at least nothing to put Blanco into the immortal territory of a Monk or Mingus), there are still some very fresh, strong songs.

Rich Perry's tenor sax and Aaron Goldberg's piano provide most of the melodic leads, while Alan Ferber's trombone offers a rich harmonic presence. Drummer Bill Campbell teams with Blanco to provide the supple foundation for the lead instrumentalists.

It's a promising debut and ought to put Blanco on most jazz fans' listening list.