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Melange (2001)

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Lew Soloff

With electronic fusion on the wane and the "young lions" of the '80s reaching middle age, a new hybrid of jazz cropped up on albums and in jazz clubs. This combination of styles borrows its harmonic qualities from post-bop but melds it with the rock-solid foundations of funk and soul. Increasingly, we are hearing a kind of hopped-up mixture of James Brown meets John Coltrane. The result is a rather provocative and fresh reading of jazz in the 21st century. Lonnie Plaxico's MELANGE is just that: a cornucopia of musical styles woven together forming a new and colorful musical fabric. All eleven tracks heard on MELANGE promote the blending of jam-band sensibilities with complex jazz blowing.

Highlighted by performances from trumpet great Lew Soloff and New York sax sensation Tim Ries, this music is energetic yet sensitive all at once. Complex melodic riffs soliloquize over the dense rhythmic pulsations of bassist Plaxico and drummer Lionel Cordew. Stand-out tracks include the penultimate tune, "Patois" and the only true ballad on the disc, "Darkness."