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Bryan Kilfoil Big Kids (BEK) Bryan Kilfoil is a top jazz drummer based in Northern California who makes his recording debut as a leader on Big Kids. In his brief liner notes, Bryan says that this is the type of music he most enjoys listening to. On the evidence of this excellent outing, he is a big fan of swinging hard bop and adventurous post bop jazz. On seven of the ten selections, the leader is joined by pianist Joe Gilman and bassist Larry Grenadier while the other three songs feature pianist Mark Levine and bassist John Wiitala. Organist Roger Smith makes an effective guest appearance on “Coldblooded” and Dave Ellis plays tenor or (on Chick Corea’s “Cappucino”) soprano on most of the selections. Ellis’ playing is especially intriguing throughout the set. On some of the songs, particularly McCoy Tyner’s “Passion Dance” and Grant Green’s “Matador,” he recalls John Coltrane. He displays Joe Henderson’s influence on “Recordame” and hints strongly at Eddie Harris on the funky “Coldblooded.” But in reality, he uses those influences as reference points for his own viable style. Ellis is best on the lengthy “Intergalactic Messenger” where his intense playing is both original and quite exciting. Kilfoil contributed the passionate “Intergalactic Messenger” and “Dedication,” the latter a ballad that Gilman and Grenadier stretch out on, engaging in inspired interplay. “Shooby Blues” is another trio showcase for pianist Gilman, who sounds quite boppish on this closing number. Bassist Larry Grenadier makes every note count during his solos and works very well with Kilfoil. As for the drummer-leader, his playing is consistently complementary to the soloists, stimulating and telepathic throughout the set. While he has a few short solos, Bryan Kilfoil is mostly content to drive the ensembles, inspire the lead voices, and swing hard. Big Kids is a very impressive debut, making one look forward to his future projects. Scott Yanow, author of ten books including Bebop, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film
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