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Critic's Choice

Uversa

The main men of Uversa (due at the Mercury Cafe this Thursday, April 29) are no strangers to each other. Guitarist Tim Edwards and bassist Tom Sublett, plus Bruce Crisman and Kenny Ortiz -- who share drum duties on Electric Jazz, the band's provocative new disc -- are veterans of Windowpane, an intriguing act that began making noise in Denver at the dawn of the last decade. Edwards certainly hasn't left Windowpane behind: In addition to putting out Electric Jazz, his label, Subspace Records, recently released Retroversion, a mind-bending compendium of Windowpane tracks captured on tape from 1991 to 1994. (Visit www.subspacerecords.com for more information about both CDs.) However, Uversa twists the Windowpane formula, inserting the electric saxophone of Bret Sexton into the spot previously occupied by Robert Tiernan's guitar. "Down Home Grown," an Electric Jazz track recorded live at Boulder's Happy Times Cottage, spotlights the combo at its most accessible; dueling solos from Edwards and Sexton are sure to hit the average jazz-fusion fan's sweet spot, but they're driving and atmospheric enough to please jam-happy noodle dancers, too. The band's stylings also encompass straightahead rock, as demonstrated by "Tennessee Jay," an Electricoffering that finds the power trio of Edwards, Sublett and Ortiz blowing the doors off Herman's Hideaway, where the song was cut. Loud, smart and passionate, Uversa won't cause longtime fans to drop Windowpane, but it provides an equally satisfying high.

 
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