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ALBUM REVIEW: "Forty-One Seconds" 

The Rita Collective

"Forty-One Seconds"

Allora Records

The Rita Collective creates music that is impossible to classify. Start with the instrumentation: group leader Dean Keller plays bass clarinet; Kristen Shiner McGuire, marimba; Kyle Vock, bass; and Matt Bevan-Perkins, percussion. On their debut album, they're joined on one cut by Mark Collins on flugelhorn. The group's name is derived from a tune by a Tunisian oud player, so you can make a case for world music. Though the music certainly has a jazz sensibility, the pieces are arranged in the manner of a chamber group. And, not to be left out, there's a funk vibe that surfaces here and there.

Tracks like "Dance With Waves," by the aforementioned oud player, Anouar Brahem, have an unmistakable Middle Eastern flavor, but the track is followed by a funky vamp. Whatever this music is, all of the group's players are adept enough to move through the changes of style, creating a timeless, universal synthesis. The album's cryptic title, "Forty-One Seconds," reflects the perfect amount of time Keller used to warm up his daughter's milk. It's an apt metaphor for the just-right mix of jazz, classical, world music, and funk on this CD.

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