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The Claudia Quintet - Royal Toast CD (album) cover


The Claudia Quintet



4.09 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Quick overview: Nice and warm throughout yet also contrapuntal and dissonant at times. If you like Zappa's instrumental jazzy side (ex: Eric Dolphy's Memorial BBQ), this may be of interest. More jazz than prog but inventive and excellently performed. All instrumental (no vocals) featuring drums, bass, vibes, accordian, sax, clarinet, and piano.

More detailed review: Although "Royal Toast" features the kind of complex inter-locking multi- instrumental passages one might expect to come from a post-progressive rock band, its presentation is much more firmly planted within the realm of jazz than that of rock. I don't mean to imply that there is no energy or excitement to be found on this CD. On the contrary, there is certainly more than enough of both to go around - just not particularly of the rock variety. Unlike many jazz ensembles, drummer John Hollenbeck has kept this core lineup intact for quite a few years now, resulting in a group of instrumentalists who are very comfortable performing extended musical passages in which not only does no single member occupy the lead chair, but in which players neither compete with nor usurp one another. In this respect, some of the band's most inventive and exciting pieces can be likened to very polite and proper extensions of math rock.

Gary Versace fits in nicely as he sits in on piano. (Yes, our "quintet" has 6 members this time around!) Versace does a good job of finding his place in the groove, cutting loose only when the songs demand it. Ted Reichman's accordion continues to redefine the limited way in which many people think about the instrument.

If, during your progrock explorations, you have developed an taste for intelligent and inventive progressive jazz, this is a winner.

If for no other reason than the fact that it manages to present us with a collection of warm, rich and oddly understated instrumental pieces while also intelligently reaching into contrapuntal, dissonant and even freeform musical realms, this album deserves a listen.

progpositivity | 4/5 |


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