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The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 2001

"One of the finest working bands on the scene."



Greg Burk
L.A. Weekly, April 2000

"Here's what makes you forget everything else and listen to these guys: They sound like one person speaking directly to you. Not for nothing is their Naxos Jazz CD from last year called Conversation Piece. In their version of "Round Midnight," even the intense presence of Thelonious Monk slides into the background behind a network of seemingly simple individual choices. Chuck Manning's tenor sax, just this side of grave, puts a melody in every bar. Larry Koonse's gentle guitar appreggios, interspersed with rhythm-conscious pauses, frame the composition with 3-D clarity. Darek Oleszkiewicz's sparse bass notes are like hand gestures drawing attention to a phrase or offering a shade of ambiguity. And Kevin Tullius' light brushes and cymbals are the unifying factor, the spirit of the collective. This is very easy music to hear, but goes just as deep as you're inclined to follow; you'd never guess that Oleszkiewicz's "Blues For Old Friends" was a 23-bar number, or that Koonse's "All That Waltz" melded 3/4 time with a 4/4 feel, unless you deliberately directed your attention to such technicalities. There are few bigger-name jazz artists making music as complete as LAJQ's, and there's nobody more involving."



C. Michael Bailey
All About Jazz, November 1999

"The LAJQ returns to the Naxos fold a recording every bit as smooth and seamless as their previous release. It again has a mixture of originals and standards strained through their guitar-based tenor quartet. The lack of a piano in the rhythm provides this band with its unique sound. Tonescapes might be the best way to describe the timbre of this band. Larry Koonse deft guitar and direction provide an ethereal canvas upon which the remaining members aurally paint their vision. Monk's "'Round Midnight" is a case in point. After a traditional introduction, the band impressionistically brushes over the merest hint of the chords from bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz to reconfigure this standard. Retaining many of the devices from memorable performances, the LAJQ solidifies the late-night feeling exuded by this piece. Likewise for the remainder of the disc. Other highlights include the 15-bar minor blues "Blues for Old Friends". Conversation Piece is a first-rate, straight-ahead effort."






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7:04:54 PM, 22 August 2014
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