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Review: Common Ground’s High Voltage

Common Ground, the progressive jazz group that features Zach Brock and Tom Wright on Electric Violins, released High Voltage on June 7. The quintet is rounded out with bassist Mike Arnopol, drummer Tom Hipskind, and pianist, Jordan Baskin.

The album consists of two classics and six original compositions. There is a new and daring arrangement of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance.” Upbeat and high energy the song features the violin duo as well as the piano.

In contrast the other cover, George Harrison’s “Within you Without You” begins somber and low key but picks up emotion and tempo ending on a very different note. The song is expressive and moody.

Highlights of the original material include the opening song, “What’s In A Name” an up-tempo number that displays the talents of the two violinists. By the end of this track you don’t even miss the horns that are non-existent on the CD.

“Half Tone Poem” is another winner. A softer number with some obvious traditional influences, it is animated and still very progressive and fresh.

Not for anyone who is stuck in the traditional blues influences or horns, the CD is still a treat and a fresh look at the changing face of Jazz.

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