Uptown in Orbit

“My Love Will Come Again”

(Mack Avenue)

Pianist Emmet Cohen was a hero of the pandemic era in jazz, launching a web series, Live from Emmet’s Place, that served as both a lifeline for jazz fans yearning to experience live jazz and a haven for musicians to convene and make music during lockdowns. What began as a loose jam session between roommates livestreamed from his Harlem apartment became an internet sensation that drew millions of viewers and musicians ranging from Christian McBride to Sheila Jordan. Still riding that artistic wave, Cohen has released Uptown in Orbit, his sophomore album for Mack Avenue Records. The disc features a few Emmet’s Place regulars, including battery mates Kyle Poole on drums and Russell Hall on bass, and rounding out the frontline are saxophonist Patrick Bartley and trumpeter Sean Jones. Stylistically, the album runs the gamut from early jazz standards to modern impressionistic fare. The Cohen original “My Love Will Come Again” is of the latter sort, a romantic, breathy affair that finds Bartley and Jones (on flugelhorn), whispering back and forth in lovely melodic phrases. Poole’s feathery bass drum is the song’s pulse, Hall’s bass rings with pristine clarity and Cohen, as always, plays with the kind of precision and grace that allows his bandmates to shine.

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