Up Ensemble 

Up Ensemble (www.up-ensemble.com)

Saxophonist Chris Burge creates most of the songs on this trio's third release. He's got chops and creativity, and he's in good company with drummer Beau Lisy and bassist Matthew Charbonneau.

Sparked by the languid calypso of "Darkness," the shifty tempo of "Jungle Boogie," and the nocturnal electronica of "Kamasutra," this album is more complex than it sounds at first. Burge has listened long and hard to Coltrane and Rollins, and Lisy's a student of Blakey, but the music is more than the sum of its influences. It's thoroughly modern, even though it pays homage to '50s bop and '60s pop.

The only covers here are of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" (both jaunty and wistful), Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" (done cheekily), and Irving Berlin's "What Do I Do?" (reverent and romantic). These coexist perfectly with the originals on an album that's accessible, modern, and accomplished -- not to mention cool.

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More by Carlo Wolff


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