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Valkata by Streetdancer

Led by Lithuanian bass guitarist Kestutis Stanciauskas, who composed 7 of the 11 original numbers on this disc (percussionist Andrew Scott Potter provided three, and keyboardist Robert Long filled out the songlist), Streetdancer offers jazz that has an indisputable international flavor, but doesn't fall into any of the 'world music' stereotypes. Whether the sources are Brazilian rhythms or Lithuanian folk melodies, the sound is solid contemporary jazz.

Credit much of that to saxophonist James Massoth, who grounds the composers' ethnic themes and occasional soft jazz impulses with consistently challenging, typically bop-inspired, solos that are the highlights of the album for me. Like so many great soloists before him, Massoth's gift is finding the jazz heart in a song that might otherwise take another direction, and he exploits that gift masterfully here.

The quartet gets a vocal assist from Grazyna Auguscik on the first track, and guitarist William Boris is a solid contributor to eight cuts. Trumpeter Carey Deadman leads a four piece horn section on Stanciauskas' funk flavored "Kombo Klub."

There's solid play from everyone on hand, and some striking new songs by a band that offers music which could move easily between jazz club and festival stage settings. If contemporary jazz with an international edge catches your interest, Streetdancer will hold it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Streetdancer
  • CD Title: Valkata
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Blujazz
  • Rating: Four Stars
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