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Puzzlebox / Press

“It’s all there on Puzzlebox’s two discs to date, Just When I Thought and this year’s sleeper gem A Place to Be, featuring the brightly promising Philadelphians Maxfield Gast (saxophones), Larry Toft (trombone) and more.”

"When the conversation turns to Puzzlebox's epic "6:25 PM" on the new A Place to Be CD, pianist Anam Owili-Eger says something puzzling: 'It's a Keith DeStefano primer in that it contains bits of the different types of tensions and consonances in his crazy head,' he says. 'It has strange melodies and others conventionally melodic, traditional rhythms as well as polyrhythms, and nodes of tension as well as other sorts of release.'"

“A Place To Be,".. adds up to an outgoing and wide-ranging 73-minute accomplishment balanced between spontaneity and intricate arranging."”

“CD Review in Philadelphia Inquirer Keith DeStefano & Puzzlebox A Place To Be (www.puzzleboxjazz.com ***) Bassist and leader Keith DeStefano evokes some pleasant associations with his Phillybased band Puzzlebox. Tunes such as "11th Hour" feel like softer hard bop with big and brassy horn lines and a strong pulse. In ambitious writing that ranges up to a nonet, DeStefano often creates a sizzle that ignites soloists including pianist Anam Owili-Eger, saxophonists Maxfield Gast and Steven Gokh, trumpeter/flutist Stan Slotter, and guest altoist Bobby Zankel. DeStefano plumbs some softer layers on "Ronan's Dream" and even explores a potential crime soundtrack on "Half Remembered Theme from a Film Noir." In beer terms, the effect of this set can be quite strong and hoppy at times. Yet DeStefano's sense of the avant-garde keeps his audience close by. - Karl Stark - Philadelphia Inquirer - Sunday August 8, 2010”

“Check out Puzzlebox feature in September's DownBeat!”

“In ambitious writing that ranges up to a nonet, DeStefano often creates a sizzle that ignites soloists including pianist Anam Owili-Eger, saxophonists Maxfield Gast and Steven Gokh, trumpeter/flutist Stan Slotter, and guest altoist Bobby Zankel.”

“DeStefano...create(s) lucid melodies that allow musicians to carry the music to invigorating harmonic heights.("A Place To Be,").. adds up to an outgoing and wide-ranging 73-minute accomplishment balanced between spontaneity and intricate arranging. ”

“When the conversation turns to Puzzlebox's epic "6:25 PM" on the new A Place to Be CD, pianist Anam Owili-Eger says something puzzling: "It's a Keith DeStefano primer in that it contains bits of the different types of tensions and consonances in his crazy head," he says. "It has strange melodies and others conventionally melodic, traditional rhythms as well as polyrhythms, and nodes of tension as well as other sorts of release." Is this merely complicated jazz theory-speak, or is he saying his bandleader has is a little bit mad?.... ”

“Puzzlebox describes itself as a fusion of “traditional, third stream, progressive, and avant garde jazz.” All of which is true, but there’s a more direct touchstone for their sound: Charles Mingus, whose uneasy juxtaposition of the dark and the boisterous permeates the Philadelphia octet. Indeed, Keith DeStefano, the founder and leader of Puzzlebox, is like Mingus, a bassist and composer whose touch is as indebted to Jazz’s Angry Man as is his pen. His music is taut, edgy, and full of surprises, but surprisingly catchy and lyrical throughout Michael West Washington DC CityPaper ”