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Gabriel Mark Hasselbach – Open Invitation

Feb. 21, 2015

The riveting sound of the solid groove-packed Gabriel Mark Hasselbach is back with a new release, Open Invitation, an album loaded with both soothinGabriel Mark Hasselbachg and searingly funky jazz just like we C-jazzers like it. After his scorching 2012 Kissed By the Sun release, who could expect anything less from this prolific trumpeter who not only cranks out his own quality albums but is featured on albums by other top-notch artists, as well. Why call on him, you ask? Well, besides being a recipient of a JUNO Award (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy), two JUNO/Technics All Star Band Awards, a West Coast Music Award, a Jazz In The Park Best Instrumental Performance Award, an Ampex Golden Reel Award, and several gold and platinum albums to his credit (with his earlier group Powder Blues and others), the trumpeter won both prestigious Album of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year awards at the Canadian Smoothies for his album Told Ya So in 2011.

Hasselbach also has some straight-ahead work under his belt – and you may be able to detect some of that influence subtly inside some runs (as is often the case with some artists), but he definitely favors the C-jazz style –much to the delight of the C-jazzers of the world.

This album, which also features him on flugelhorn and flutes, has some cool contributors like keyboardists Greg Manning, Cal Harris Jr., and Bob Baldwin, and saxman Bob Mintzer of Yellowjackets fame. They all make this one cool, flowing party.

Tracks that immediately made my faves list include the driving “Propulsion,” the slick and smooth title track, the poppin’ “INIT2WINIT,” the sweet and soulful “Lovelight,” the funky, rather Latinesque “Let It Slide,” and the light and airy finale with that twist of island rhythm “Carte Blanche.” There’s also much more here from which to choose your own faves.

Suffice it to say that Hasselbach not only consistently has a handle on the C-jazz groove but again works it to perfection here on Open Invitation. – Ronald Jackson