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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 175 - 12/21/10

Michael Bellar/The As-Is Ensemble
Turned On Turned Up
Left Three Leaves Music

Michael Bellar and his ensemble have been around and you can tell on the jazz group's new record. Their instrumental sound is dynamic and bold and makes their own and other's songs sound good.

Ben Folds' "Fred Jones part 2" gets an unlikely yet thrilling reading thus proving the groups versatility. "Heavyweight Love Match" has a funny title and a relaxed groove to show Bellar and his mates at their most dexterous. I'm reminded of the Bad Plus at their most playful. "Fur Turban" is a very neat ramble of a song, putting the emphasis on the group's practiced synchronicity. Björk's "Unravel" gets a cool reading, scaling it down to a whisper of a tune, and the delivery of the melody ensures that it works. It's a thrilling ride of a record.

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