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Sleight Of Hand

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Sleight Of Hand
Sleight Of Hand


'Sleight of Hand' builds on New York Standards Quartet (NYSQ) catalogue of five superb albums (including 'The New Straight Ahead' and 'Power of 10', on Whirlwind) as saxophonist Tim Armacost, pianist David Berkman and drummer Gene Jackson welcome double bassist Daiki Yasukagawa back into the fold in the shared brief of refashioning familiar and lesser-known jazz standards.

This is a band that regularly plays and performs together, so there's a common bond which brings out the best in the arrangements they conjure. Recorded at the end of an international tour - in the beautiful, mountainous location of Lake Yamanaka, close to Mount Fuji - 'Sleight of Hand's eight numbers reflect the band's spontaneous, transformational approach, with the title track (based on Gershwin's "But Not For Me") irresistibly playful.

Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" and Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now" swing with respective vibrancy and jauntiness, while the metrical changes and perky rhythms of "This I Dig of You" pick up on Hank Mobley's classic Blue Note album origins; and the various key modulations in "Lover Man" are a world away from Billie Holiday's lingering vocal lines as Armacost's spritely soprano responds swiftly to Jackson's syncopated drum accents.

1940s song "Detour Ahead" - perhaps mostly familiar in composer Herb Ellis's guitar setting - translates into a luscious alto and piano-led ballad, sensitively buoyed by Yasukagawa's bass shaping; Jules Styne/Sammy Cahn favorite "I Fall In Love Too Easily" is treated to sparkling, percussion-led animation; and Armacost's rich tenor lyricism in Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" is ravishingly restrained.

Personnel: Tim Armacost (tenor, soprano saxophones), David Berkman (piano), Daiki Yasukagawa (double bass), Gene Jackson (drums)


  1. Name
  2. Soul Eyes
  3. Ask Me Now
  4. In A Sentimental Mood
  5. Sleight Of Hand
  6. I Fall In Love Too Easily
  7. This I Dig Of You
  8. Detour Ahead
  9. Lover Man
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