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It took eight years, but bassist/composer Noah Garabedian finally follows up his 2014 leader debut Big Butter and the Eggmen with Consider the Stars Beneath Us, an album inspired in part by the death of his father and in part by the addition of producer/electronicist Samuel Adams to his working quartet. Though the ensemble performances with pianist Carmen Staaf, drummer Jimmy Macbride and saxophone star Dayna Stephens form the center of Stars, Adams contributes nearly subliminal fairy dust, giving the tracks a depth that’s there to explore for those who want to scratch more than the surface. But ultimately it all comes down to Garabedian’s tunes, which reveal an unwillingness to stay within conventional bop boundaries. Twisting and turning without losing the plot, “Petrichor,” “Petty Thieves” and “Expectation. Regret” incorporate blues, avant-garde and melodies from Garabedian’s Armenian heritage into cuts that beguile while remaining challenging. Consider the Stars Beneath Us showcases an expert composer, arranger and bandleader coming into his own, and ready to move into headliner status.
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