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ALBUM REVIEW: "Song Without Singing" 

Fred Randolph

"Song Without Singing"

Creative Spirit Records

In the world of jazz, barriers are breaking down fast. The new album by San Francisco Bay Area bassist Fred Randolph is a case in point. Randolph has already crossed genres, playing in the bands of jazz artists like Akira Tana and folk stars like Maria Muldaur. On his new album, "Song Without Singing," Randolph offers a globe-spanning collection of tunes that, with one exception, are his own compositions.

The exception is an almost Baroque, horn-centered arrangement of Sting's "King of Pain," but it's Randolph's global village that wins the day. Aside from American jazz, musical influences range from Mali and South Africa to Venezuela and Argentina. Randolph, who is especially strong on electric fretless bass, is well supported by Matt Clark, piano; Erik Jekabson, trumpet; Rob Roth, saxophone; Greg Wyser-Pratte, drums; and Alex Murzyn, saxophone and flute, but there are a host of guests. Accordionist Rob Reich nicely enhances a tune inspired by Astor Piazzolla, and singer Sandy Cressman is wonderful on a samba titled "Pelo Mar."


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Once upon a time, from around 1975 to 1995, the Rochester music scene was stuck in analog limbo, with a dubious digital solution waiting in the wings. It was a growing scene that fed off itself: Local musicians put out records, which would inspire their peers to issue their own records to supplement their income and further express their art. read more ...

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