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Mark O' Leary, Tomasz Stanko, Billy Hart Levitation Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

A blowing session of free-ish jazz; sometimes funky, sometimes atmospheric...

Peter Marsh 2005

After spells with Paul Bley and Mat Maneri, guitarist Mark O'Leary finds himself in the heavyweight company of Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and legendary drummer Billy Hart for his latest project. It's a blowing session of free-ish jazz; sometimes funky, sometimes atmospheric, framed by sketchy themes and arrangements.

O'Leary seems to have an aversion to the bottom end - none of his recordings to date featurea bass. Although this gives the music space, it can also leave it dangerously unanchored, especially when the trio opt for a straight groove; on the 16 minute title track Hart tries to hold things together, but fights a losing battle.

While Stanko sounds much more lively and adventurous than on recent ECM dates and O'Leary is on mercurial (if garrulous) form, most of this album's 71 minutes feels like three musicians in search of common ground and not quite finding it. There are moments of beauty and empathy, but if you're like me you may find waiting for them is hard work. Disappointing.

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