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Drummer David Whitman echoes spirit of Art Blakey on new album
(Published: June 15, 2017)

The breathtaking, powerhouse drumming of jazz legend Art Blakey echoes in the invigorating, punchy performances of David Whitman on his debut album, Oh, Clara! Whitman surrounds himself with an all-star roster of backing musicians that complement his youthful exuberance and swinging rhythms.

Named after his first child (his wife was pregnant with her at the time of recording), Oh, Clara! pulses with raw passion and unbridled enthusiasm. Whitman's goal of capturing the high standards of Blue Note and other prestigious jazz labels is dazzlingly achieved. Every track is injected with Whitman's deft technical skills and wide-eyed creativity. Whitman's vigorous playing on "Morningside Heights" seems to elevate his band as well with Geoffrey Keezer's rollicking piano and Andrew Neesley's soaring trumpet reaching emotional highs.

On "Dear John," Rob Thorson's tightly-wound and deep bass lines add atmospheric depth to what is usually associated with a break-up letter. Whether that is how this "Dear John" can be interpreted is up to the listener. The song is unbelievably pretty, featuring reflective piano, Tom Luer's hot sax, and crystalline guitars. The track quickens its pace near the end with Whitman revealing a sweaty intensity. Another knockout cut is "Saint Nicholas Avenue," a lovely tune illuminated by sparkling piano, lush sax, and mesmerizing brush work from Whitman.

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