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ALBUM REVIEWS : *** 1/2 JAMES NEWTON "If Love" Jazzline

May 27, 1990|DON SNOWDEN

Long regarded as the young master of jazz flute, James Newton went through a period where an overly formal compositional sense reined in his playing and left the music on the dry side. Not on "In Love," where Newton gets back to quartet basics and cuts loose with the exemplary rhythm section of bassist Anthony Cox, drummer Billy Hart and pianist Mike Cain. Newton meshes sterling technique with free-flowing imagination on a wide-ranging program which includes the frenzied tribute, "Mr. Dolphy," and "Oblong," a variant on Monk's "Well You Needn't." It would have been nice if there had been a front line foil to complement Newton's airy tone with some mid-range muscle but "If Love" is still a solid return to form.

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