by Tom Haugen
It Never Entered My Mind
An outfit that began in 2013 when the saxophonist and jazz enthusiast Sarah Lee left her career in technology for music, Blue Muse return with this sophomore album, where harmony, hard swing, soul jazz and west coast cool meet at a very inviting intersection.
“One By One” starts the listen with a Wayne Shorter tune as melody and rhythm are delivered in spades thanks to Jarrett Carter’s smooth guitar, Javian Francis’ graceful piano and Steve Strawley’s soulful trumpet, and the title track follows with a gentle, reflective tone where Lee’s sublime sax playing illuminates the cautious mood.
The middle of the listen offers the playful drumming of John Medico and strategic bass of Cody Wheaton that comprises the lively jazz setting of “Nutville”, while “Sweet n Sour” glides with a contagious energy that’s full of spirited guitar lines, frisky drumming and well timed brass.
Deeper still, “Freedom Sound” finds a stylish, tuneful and very precise place to reside in the Joe Sample cover, and “Ping Pong” exits the listen with a swift pace of complicated yet universally enjoyable musicianship that’s as glorious as it is timeless.
Let’s hope it isn’t 6 years before another record from Blue Muse, cause the 7 members interact in ways that showcase all the facets of jazz sounds that we can’t help but admire.