Bill Douglas and Ty Burhoe

Sky (Tala Records)

Over the past decade-plus, Ty Burhoe, a Boulder tabla expert, has performed solo, in groups like Curandero, and as a sideman for string wizard Tony Furtado and many others. No matter the setting, Burhoe's work has been consistently intelligent and sonically impeccable, and Sky, the first release for his new imprint, Tala Records, is no exception.

This time around, Burhoe, who also produced the CD, teams with pianist Douglas and two special guests: bassist Kai Eckhardt and drummer Steve Smith, whose onetime membership in Journey (yes, that Journey) shouldn't be held against him in this context. "Full Moon," the opener, flirts with new-ageisms, but the playing is too jazzy and inquisitive to fade into the background, and subsequent offerings, including the witty "Vocal Rhythm Etude Medley" and the swinging "Funk for Spain," defy expectations and pigeonholing.

Eckhardt's ultra-melodic bass lines make the biggest impression here, but the musicianship throughout is Sky high.

 
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