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Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

Nick Moran Trio

No Time Like Now (Manor Sound)

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Working jazz bands have almost always incorporated popular hits into their repertoire, and as popular music shifted toward rock, the songbook only widened. If "Smells Like Teen Spirit" can get the treatment from the Bad Plus, then why not transform Cream's minor-key dirge, "Strange Brew," into ebullient jazz? That's the number opening the Nick Moran Trio's second CD, in a version emulating the sound of those eager-to-please, yet soulful organ-powered jazz trios that entertained during happy hour in many '60s-era lounges. Moran's own compositions, which fill the remainder of the CD, play with many grooves and many moods, negotiating the cool jazz tradition with deft musicianship.