"...the octet ... is sharp and well-grounded on every number, ...every solo is strong and engaging. The rhythm section, anchored by drummer Joe Syrian, does its part to enliven the party... Syrian is especially impressive thumping the tom toms on a Latin-flavored version of "All or Nothing At All"."

"Letting the good vibes flow....this bunch is hanging out and having a good time .... Solid stuff throughout."

"Real fun,...""...with an emphasis on mellow hipness." "Here's a band that takes you back to the soul-jazz days..."

Joe Syrian's Motor City Jazz Octet gathers the some of the best jazz musicians in the Detroit metropolitan area. Their new album Sanctuary ... is of high quality .... The octet varies in its lineup and on this recording the players are Steve Wood (tenor sax, flute), Jimmy Smith (trumpet), Mike Rumbell (trombone), Mark Berger (baritone and alto sax), Gary Schunk (keyboards), Steve Carryer (guitar), Don Lewandowski (bass), Andrew Lloyd (bass) and Joe Syrian (drums).

The music presented on Sanctuary is melodic classic jazz that is superbly played with nice solos from all involved. The lyrical guitar solo in "When I Fall in Love" and the piano solo in the Gershwin standard "Embraceable You" immediately come to mind. Other highlights include the Latin tinged drumming in "All Or Nothing At All" and the smooth electric piano and percussion in a completely jazzified version of "Come Together". Trumpet, sax and trombone dominate the Stevie Wonder classic "Sir Duke" offering a fresh and unique take but is still instantly recognizable with its unmistakable melody and horn arrangement.

... the melodies and solos are top notch with nary a wasted note. Recommended.

Eleanor Rigby

Mas Que Nada

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Joe Syrian on NPR Hawaiian Jazz Radio

Motor City Jazz Octet

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