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JAZZ | ALBUM REVIEWS

** 1/2 JOEY BARON, "Down Home," Intuition

January 11, 1998|Bill Kohlhaase

Drummer Joey Baron, darling of the downtown New York free music scene, has put together a diverse quartet of musicians on this surprisingly mainstream session of his own, mostly R&B-inspired compositions. Fans of his eclectic Barondown ensemble will find "Down Home" a decided change from that group's grunge and free-spirit jazz.

Anchored by dependable bassist Ron Carter and Baron's own remarkably straight-ahead play, the disc features guitarist Bill Frisell soloing in uncharacteristic, button-down style while dealing out rhythmic accompaniment worthy of James Brown. The star of the album is under-recorded saxophonist Arthur Blythe, whose searing, uninhibited alto play lifts even the simplest tunes. Though it breaks no new ground, "Down Home" serves to underscore this well-traveled drummer's versatility.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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