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Album review: 'A View From Within' 

Jim Robitaille Group

'A View From Within'

Whaling City Sound

Guitarist Jim Robitaille won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition in 2002 and several more composing awards since then, so it's no surprise that his tunes on "A View from Within" are first-rate. Robitaille can certainly write tunes that swing, but he's especially strong on melodic ballads like "Slow Tuesday." On his fifth album as a leader, Robitaille borrows the excellent rhythm section from Dave Liebman's Expansions: Tony Marino on bass and Alex Ritz on drums.

Best of all, Liebman is also along for the ride. While Robitaille is an excellent guitarist, having a player like Liebman on soprano and tenor saxes takes the songs up a notch. Because the album was recorded in a six-hour session after the group played two sets at a club the night before, the playing is decidedly in-the-moment. The album's covers include the funkiest take on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" you are ever likely to hear.

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