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Mirage ()


Tenor saxophonist Mark O'Connor (not to be confused with the veteran violinist, guitarist and mandolin player with the same name) should surprise many jazz fans with his striking debut as a leader. Utilizing a rotating cast of talented musicians in either quintet or quartet settings; the Chicago-based musician's confident and full-bodied sound belies his youth on this post-bop oriented date. Six of the ten selections are his own, especially the challenging, well-named opener ("The Beast") and the free-spirited mixed meter "Mirage." Neither is he a slouch as an interpreter of ballads, which include two works by the matchless team of Rodgers & Hart: a loping treatment of "With a Song in My Heart" and a touching take of "It's Easy to Remember." Finally, his driving rendition of Jackie McLean's "Little Melonae" wraps the CD with a flourish. ~ Ken Dryden, Rovi Hide synopsis

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