Ben Wanicur is based in California. Sporting a thick, bottom-heavy sound, this bass player fronts a skillful quartet on his release, The Excluded Middle. This disc offers half original compositions and half covers. Wanicur's arrangements of both keep the songs complex enough to be interesting, yet not so much as to be inaccessible to the average listener. The disc opens strong with the swinging "13 Vans". The cover of Cole Porter's "So In Love" is uptempo and like so many of the songs here, sports occasional changes in rhythmic meter. The album highlight, "Sun Chant", starts with a bowed bass intro and features a melody of both guitar and sax playing off each other. Drummer Charlie Weller often steals the show on this disc...not that drums are highlighted. He's just so damned talented with his rim shots and hi hat, that one can't help but notice. This entire band is talented and I look forward to hearing more from them on their own or with other projects.
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