Brent Black’s jazz blog Bop-N-Jazz reviews all three FivePlay CDs:

  • “Five and More”: …Their third effort Five & More is an exemplary effort shifting between the more straight ahead bebop and post modern hard bop sounds that allow this formidable quintet to lay down their own artistic stamp on a truly original release…
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  • “Five of Hearts”: …The Five Play Jazz Quintet does more than play the notes, they make the music. This is a feat often easier said than done but the growth exhibited with Five of Hearts continues to have this band turning heads and word of mouth alone has them at the top of the heap in the Bay area improvisational scene.
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  • “FivePlay Jazz Quintet”: This formidable quintet changes meter, dynamics and form with the ease and grace of a post bop ensemble that has been together for years. One of the most refreshing aspects to the band seems to be their all in approach in performing strictly original work.
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Andrew Gilbert’s feature article in the San Francisco Chronicle: the music is memorably melodic…

Sumiko Saulson’s writeup on Examiner.com: The finely crafted sound of FivePlay has garnered them an impressive selection of special guest performers…

Web broadcaster Mark Stevens (Piano and All That Jazz): … it’s wonderful. (The musicians) sound great on their respective instruments and the band is tight. Nice compositions, melodic and nicely arranged.

All About Jazz on “Five and More”: …the presence of some guests and the arrangements that surround them help to make this music memorable. The juxtaposition of trombones against soprano saxophone creates a unique sound on “The Girl You Look Right Past,” clarinet(s) and vibraphone come together brilliantly on “What Bobby Said,” and bass trumpet moves atop a bed of clarinets on “Rosa Rugosa,” a captivating bossa that stands as one of the highlights on the album. (Full review)

In JazzWax, Marc Myers reviews “Five and More”: The FivePlay Jazz Quintet from San Francisco has a sound that will appeal to jazz novices and sophisticates alike. On FivePlay’s Five & More (Auraline), the core group co-led by pianist Laura Klein and guitarist Tony Corman is joined by a clutch of guest artists. But instead of having these guests just take solos, the arrangements integrate them seamlessly in the group, altering the musical coloration from track to track. The addition of Ted Wolff’s vibes on Glow in the Dark, for example, is bright and light while Frank Phipps marching trombone on Rosa Rugosa and Dave Tidball’s clarinet gives the song a punchy warmth. Every track offers a different coloration…It’s a gorgeous album with enormous heart and taste. Those arrangements are fabulous.

Review: In Target Audience, Matt Warnock reviews our first CD.

Cadence magazine: Strong performances of original music by the FivePlay Jazz Quintet yield a worthy and quite enjoyable debut recording… Guitarist Corman, pianist Klein, and reed player Tidball supply varied and thoughtful compositions largely in the post Bop realm, with appealing melodies and well-considered arrangements that make effective use of the group’s personnel and instrumentation. Klein’s “Off the Ground” is an effective opener, pairing guitar and soprano on a brisk unison line with frequent counter lines from bass and piano and a nice set of blowing changes. Klein also penned “He’e’s Boogie,” a down home boogie plus an intricate line over an aggressive back beat, and “Once Upon a Time,” an enchanting tune in waltz time with excellent solos from Klein on piano and Tidball on clarinet. Corman contributes five pieces, including “Flight of the Gazorple,” an uplifting melody with a tinge of melancholy, “Fever Dream,” a minor exotic line, “Bright Golden Sunshine,” an upbeat lead and groove, “Indigone,” an interesting contrapuntal piece, and “Amor Fati,” a light and pretty bossa nicely rendered by Tidball on tenor. Corman is also an excellent performer, providing insights and clarity in his solos throughout the recording. Tidball’s “Sidesteppin Blues,” a slow slightly altered Blues with a back-to-basics concept, features solos from Tidwell on tenor and Corman on guitar, and concludes the fine set.

FivePlay Jazz Quintet consists of Tony Corman on guitar, Laura Klein on piano, Paul Smith on bass, Alan Hall on drums, and Dave Tidball on sax and clarinet. Their new self titled release, FivePlay Jazz Quintet, is a smooth venture into a very melodic brand of jazz. Corman and Klein wrote all but one of the songs, a variety of tempos and time signatures but all very accessible. He’e’s Boogie is one of my favorites on the CD. And no, that’s not a typo. That’s the way it’s spelled. Klein lays down a boogie riff with help from the rhythm section and Tidball really blows those horns. Indigone is another tasty tune that takes some crazy turns. Fever Dream is a mysterious, smoky piece. Tidball’s sax is a musky, sexy siren backed by undulating drums and bass. Good stuff! FivePlay Jazz Quintet is a must for jazz lovers. Don’t miss it.
-Don Sechelski, The Muse’s Muse

…this CD has become my “Go To” music when I’m at my computer…It’s beautifully paced. Every tune takes me someplace new. That’s one of the reasons I can listen to it repeatedly. It’s always fresh.

Bud Spangler, drummer/jazz radio personality/producer

The music on the FivePlay CD is excellent and so are the players… My favorites are “Off The Ground,” the boogie tune, and easing out with the “Blues”. It is really hard to pick favorites and leave out so much music and musicianship. Dave sounds great on everything. And Laura, what can I say. Everyone is so COOL. Thanks for the CD.
Plas Johnson, saxophone titan

This is the debut recording for Five Play, a quintet featuring Tony Corman (g), Laura Klein (p), Paul Smith (b), Alan Hall (d) and Dave Tidball (sax, cl). The music is all original, upbeat, modern jazz written mostly by producers Klein and Corman. “He’e’s Boogie”, the mellow “Amor Fati” and the mysterious “Fever Dream” are among the best of the ten selections. They are charting a fresh path in the land of jazz that will be sure to attract a following.
O’s Place Jazz Magazine

Five Play Jazz Quintet…is in our “hot” jazz rotation.
Aaron Dawson, Jazz Director WWVU-FM

Y me he deleitado con el CD Completo de “5 Play Jazz”. Lo encontré muy ameno y optimista. (In English: And I am delighted with the Full CD “5 Play Jazz.” I found it very entertaining and upbeat.
Francisco Javier Salazar Abarca, Coordinador de Carrera/Ingeniería en Gestión Comercial/DUOC UC/Plaza Vespucio

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), Paul Smith’s bass, Alan Hall’s drums & Dave Tidball’s sax/clarinet on tunes like the opener, “Off the Ground” will make this CD 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! When Tidball’s reeds chime in (at about 1:45), you’ll know what that ol’ boogie spirit is all about… The alleycat bass lead-in & undercurrent on the 6:54 “Fever Dream” will transport you to the other side of dreamland for a long time to come. 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

…next week an entire program with fiveplayjazz…Wonderful music!
www.purojazz.com:

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. Other standouts included reedman Dave Tidball’s solo on an energetic, Latin-ish tune called “Indigone”; the attractive melody line of “Bright Golden Sunshine”; and the satisfying, down-home sound of “Sidesteppin’ Blues.” The group is completed by Paul Smith on bass and Alan Hall on drums. To their credit, the music presented here stays in a straight-ahead groove, never becoming too outside. Or, as the liner notes suggest, “modern jazz to be enjoyed by everyone.” I couldn’t have said it better.
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:

It is always such a rare pleasure as a reviewer to run across a recording that surprises me by exceeding my expectations: the FivePlay Jazz Quintet release is a perfect example. I was unaware of any of the performers – who apparently are veteran Bay-Area musicians – and hey I put the thing on and I’m blown away. These cats can really play! Led by guitarist Tony Corman (a former saxophone player who had to switch instruments due to a health problem) and his pianist wife Laura Klein – who write the majority of the material, the band also consists of a fine rhythm section – solid and sensitive bassist Paul Smith and creative drummer Alan Hall – whose tight interplay is an important component of the group – and sax and clarinet star Dave Tidball who is an absolute knock out. This is modern straight-ahead jazz that bristles with energy (and from the West Coast?). The band members have played together for several years and it shows in their sharp interaction. 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. From the dazzling opening number – “Off the Ground” through the waltzing “Flight of the Gazorple,” the hard bop boogie of “He’e’s Boogie” (love Klein’s piano work here and throughout – she is a real gem), the Brazilian-flavored “Once Upon a Time,” the Latin-esque “Indigone,” bossa-fied “Amor Fati,” mysterious “Fever Dream,” shifting pop tune “Bright Golden Sunshine,” hypnotically-beautiful “In a Grain of Sand” and album ending treat – the “fairly rambunctious” “Sidesteppin’ Blues” the listener will have a hard time sitting still. No weak tunes in this bunch, I plan on keeping this one in play to absorb all the nuances. Highly recommended.
www.jazzchicago.net

I would recommend this album to everyone-Matt Knapil, Celebrity Cafe

This CD’s opening thesis is that it’s time for some warm weather, top-down jazz that knows how to ride along with you down the coast highway of your mind, if you aren’t Cali cats like them. Smooth jazz that isn’t biz jazz and isn’t afraid to let chops fly, there’s nothing here that won’t make you feel good as you make your way around the various course of their buffet. Tasty stuff throughout that won’t steer you wrong- http://midwestrecord.com/MWRBlog.html