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CD Review: The Dave Sterner Quintet 

Sidetracked (Speak Jazz)

Backed by a group of veteran jazz sidemen, Cleveland saxman Sterner plays a little bit of everything here, from straight-ahead bop ("Mine or Yours") to funky New Orleans groove ("Where Y'at"). Sterner, who teaches at Cuyahoga Community College and directs the Lakeland Community College Civic Jazz Orchestra, swings with the best of them. He can also slow things down to a simmer, like on the piano ballad (and album highlight) "Waiting," which starts elegantly before picking up speed. Other tracks, like the gorgeous "Looking Glass" and the skittish "Midlife Crisis," prove that Sterner and his quintet can sound just as comfortable at a classy wedding reception as they do in a dingy jazz club. — Jeff Niesel

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