Album review. Posi-Tone continues its run of great run of innovative straight ahead jazz jazz albums with this excellent line up.
Release date: August 3rd 2010
Availability: CD, MP3 Download
Jim Rotondi's third Posi-Tone release presents the best of the label's attempt to keep straight ahead mainstream jazz at the forefront. The band - Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Joe Locke (vibraphone), Danny Grissett (piano), Barak Mori (bass), Bill Stewart (drums) – is selected from the finest on the current New York scene and the result is as special as you would expect.
The four original compositions – three by Jim Rotondi and one from Joe Locke – are combined well with innovative takes on more standard fare on the nine-track album.
Vibes player Buddy Montgomery's '1000 Rainbows', the title track, is a clear stand out with unison trumpet/vibes singing out over unison bass/piano, probing vibes and trumpet solos and Bill Stewart's drumming getting into those tempo-bending rhythms that he is so well known for.
Ditto, the take on trumpeter Bill Mobley's '49th Street' with its Charlie Parker-like riffs and hustling 'this is the big city in the sixties' feel.
British-born arranger Jeremy Lubbock's 'Not Like This' is another highlight but for quite different reasons. It is a beautiful duet between trumpet and vibes; a cool, understated finale.
There is a big ballad - the Richard Wells / Mel Tormé composition 'Born To Be Blue' - that shows off Jim Rotondi's fine technique as, minus vibes, the band shines as a quartet.
Of the original material, the pick is Joe Locke's 'Crescent Street', said to be a reworking of the chord structure to Jerome Kern's 'Yesterdays'. It emerges as high octane, uptempo bop with attractive running bass lines and time no changes freedom for improvisation.
The Jim Rotondi originals are high tempo, full-blooded bop with the band at full stretch; a tempo too far, perhaps, on 'Bizzaro World' and 'Gravitude' but finding greater poise on 'One For Felix'.
The remaining track, a take on Lennon and McCartney's 'We Can Work It Out', develops from modest beginnings into an expansive vehicle for impressive soloing.
Overall, then, a mainstream bop album of great accomplishment.
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