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Polar Scoüt

Six-song EP from former Slant lead singer Mark Zedonek. A lot of quiet guitar and beautiful vocals go into this thoughtful journey, which is occasionally upbeat but rarely raucous. Shades of Mark Kozelek and even The One A.M. Radio here and there; the title track, coming in the middle of the album, is the highlight. The only qualm I have is that now and then, the synthetic sounds verge on cheesy — nothing that can't be improved upon easily next time, though. Worth your time.

— Andy Mulkerin

Bob Mintzer Big Band
For the Moment
(MCG Jazz)

This album spotlights moments in late September last year at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, the North Side's sterling jazz venue. There, saxophonist/flutist Mintzer (of Yellowjackets fame) fronted 18 other musicians, including Pittsburgh's Mike Tomaro, Steve Hawk and Jay and Marty Ashby, none of whom solos. The session looks south to Brazilian rhythms and harmonies in nine pieces, four by Mintzer. São Paulo's Chico Pinheiro sparkles in a richly-textured guitar solo in his own "Irrequieto" and shimmers with sweetness singing the Antonio Carlos Jobim gem "Corcovado." Both justify the price of admission. Soloists such as Mintzer and trumpet player Scott Wendholt add fire to the more sultry sway of an ensemble tightly knit and impressive in Mintzer's fine arrangements, with especially colorful effects from the flutes. Keyboardist Russell Ferrante, likewise a Yellowjacket, is present most often as solid support but also takes an agreeable solo in the familiar ballad "For All We Know." You'll find many other moments to enjoy. 

— Gordon Spencer



Jazzy, proggy guitar- (well, technically bass-) rock from a duo of accomplished session/tour players. Drums, "FrankenBass" (part bass, part piccolo bass), synths and samples from movies (as well as Sesame Street) populate the 10-track recording. The samples are mostly well-chosen (though maybe Grover wasn't the best option), the instrumental work is great and Klint Macro's recording is immaculate. Interesting stuff, done well.

— Andy Mulkerin



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