I had not heard of either Wolff or Klein, but they are fully-accomplished soloists and fine team players, staying out of each other’s way when necessary and operating as a cohesive duo, mutually supporting one another. Although both of them play their respective keyboards with great facility, they resist the temptation to overwhelm the listener with strings of rapid-fire notes, or, paradoxically, to meander, creating washes of sound without much rhythmic motion. They can propel the music (Barron’s “Voyage”) or muse (Klein’s “In a Grain of Sand”) with equal facility and effect. It’s a rewarding debut CD by two artists who have their own identities, but merge into this thoughtful duo.
— Michael Steinman, Cadence Magazine
It’s a gem. Beautifully played and recorded. (Laura Klein) has got so much awareness and sensitivity in her comping, and her solos are really saying something.
— Bud Spangler, drummer/jazz radio personality/producer
All the virtues of the jazz duo are heard on Cerulean Blue. Here, we have pianist Laura Klein and vibraphonist Ted Wolff together, creating an eminently listenable recording. It is obvious they have played together many times listening to them anticipate and flesh out each other’s ideas. …Extremely talented, Klein is both a performer and composer… Some highlights include the title track written by Klein. After a slow pensive opening, the two get down into a bluesy mood accentuated by Klein’s hint of stride, while Wolfe’s light and breezy “Peau Douce” particularly shows off their interplay… This is the duo’s first record date, but, with this achievement, there should certainly be more.
— Larry Taylor, JazzReview.com
FivePlay Jazz Quintet
This San Francisco area fivesome has apparently played together for quite a period of time, but this is their debut recording, and a real sparkler it is! The 10 original tunes are almost all creations of either the group’s guitarist, Tony Corman, or its pianist, Laura Klein. The first tune, for example, is the aptly titled “Off the Ground,” a hard bopping yet lyrical vehicle featuring a Klein piano solo with major league chops.
— George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon
FivePlay Jazz Quintet with Laura Klein and Tony Corman in the ranks is wonderful and a welcome addition to my playlists!
— Peter Kuller, Radio Adelaide, Australia
I’m blown away. These cats can really play! Led by guitarist Tony Corman and his pianist wife Laura Klein – who write the majority of the material, the band also consists of a fine rhythm section whose tight interplay is an important component of the group…This music is so vibrant and fun that I hesitate to try to describe the songs lest I diminish the many qualities I enjoy. But let me say that as good as the playing is – and these players are all very good – the songwriting is equally enjoyable…love Klein’s piano work here and throughout – she is a real gem. Highly recommended.
The music on the FivePlay CD is excellent and so are the players… It is really hard to pick favorites and leave out so much music and musicianship… And Laura, what can I say. Everyone is so COOL.
— Plas Johnson, saxophone titan
Excellent all-around jazz from this Bay Area band… 10 all-original compositions played with just the kind of vibrancy that will attract the ears of jazz veterans as well as newbies. Crisp recording and high-energy talent from Tony Corman’s guitar, Laura Klein’s piano (I first reviewed her wonderful keyboards in issue # 100)… a must-have for your collection! If you haven’t heard them before, you’ll be mightily impressed (as was I), and will make sure you follow their release schedule to get everything they play. Having my own playing roots in boogie, it only took 2 or 3 bars for me to fall (like, totally, man) in love (it’s my absolute favorite on the album) with “He’e’s Boogie”, a Klein composition that simply COOKS! This is one of the best quintets I’ve listened to this year, and they get an unequivocal MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97. They also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best new jazz sound”!
— Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation