The Bonner Party

Lights Out (Akashic Records)

Pianist Joe Bonner has been among the most enigmatic personages on the Denver jazz scene for decades, yet his talent is hardly a mystery. Lights Out, which receives its introduction to the public during a Saturday, November 27, CD-release bash at Dazzle, is another in a long line of consistently impressive recordings stretching back to the early '70s.

Joining Bonner in this particular Party are saxophonist Prasanna Bishop, bassist supreme Artie Moore and drummer Charles Ayash. Together the instrumentally accomplished quartet tackles a slew of original compositions from the pens of Bonner and Bishop, as well as Kenny Barron's "The Black Angel" and Thad Jones's lovely "Quietude." The playing throughout is lush, rich and intuitive, with the roiling "Essence" and the old-school bop of "Activa" offering ample evidence of the combo's range and skill. The performers' classicism means that traditions are saluted, not transformed, but the disc is no less engaging for their fealty to jazz verities. Title notwithstanding, Lights Out shines.

 
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