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Ben Rosenblum - Nebula Project 'Kites and Strings' is all that and more / STEP TEMPEST

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Listen to all the musical sounds around us; there are albums that push us into action, others that take us to new worlds, and others that plain bore us. Then, there's "comfort food" music, songs that make us smile, calm us down because the artist(s) is (are) so in sync and sound like that everyone is having such a good time.  For his third album as a leader, pianist, accordionist, and composer Ben Rosenblum has expanded his trio (bassist Marty Jaffe and drummer Ben Zweig) to a sextet featuring Wayne Tucker (trumpet), Jasper Dutz (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), and Rafael Rosa (guitar), dubbing the group the Nebula Project.

"Kites and Strings" (self-released) features seven Rosenblum originals, one traditional Bulgarian song, and one song each by Leonard Bernstein ("Somewhere") and Neil Young ("Philadelphia", the 1993 movie with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington).  The fast-paced "Cedar Place" opens the program with the trumpet, tenor sax, and accordion leading the rhythm section through the melody. The accordion may remind some of Gary Versace's work with the Maria Schneider Orchestra.  The title songs also features Rosenblum's accordion and adds vibraphonist Jake Chapman to the mix.  Solos by Chapman, Tucker, and the leader occur over the floating rhythm section––the music feels warm and comfortable.  "Motif from Brahms (Op. 98)" is a lovey ballad; with the accordion on the melody, trumpet and clarinet for support plus fine piano work by guest pianist Jeremy Corren, the music deftly blends classical and jazz influences.