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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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ANTTI SARPILA QUARTET

We'd Like New York...in June!

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19375

 

 

 


 
1. How About You?
2 From This Moment On
3. Everything Happens to Me
4. Moonlight on Germont
5. Lesterity
6. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
7. Whispers in the Dark
8. Revolutionary Jump
9. Unforgettable
10. 'Deed I Do
11. I'm Beginning to See the Light
12. Swing ala Chopin
13. Summer Night
14. Just One of Those Things
15. Cheek to Cheek
16. Love Walked In
17. Dearest (You're the Nearest to my Heart)
 
Antti Sarpila - Clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax
Rossano Sportiello - Piano
Nicki Parrott - Bass
Ed Metz Jr. - Drums
 

Having favourably reviewed a recent album by the rhythm section on this CD, I wasn't surprised to find that this album is equally enjoyable. The leader is Antti Sarpila, a reedman from Finland who deserves to be much better known. The album was recorded in New York just after last year's "Valentine's Day Blizzard", and the quartet is pictured suffering the heavy snow which made them feel that they would like New York better in June than in February.

The CD opens with the Ralph Freed/Burton Lane tune which inspired the ironic album title. But there is nothing chilly about the playing on this track or any of the others. This is warm, likeable jazz, with easy interplay between the four musicians, although Ed Metz's drums are recorded so low in the mix that he is often only noticeable when he takes solos - as he does with his customary skill. Still, Nicki Parrott's unswerving double bass anchors the music firmly as well as driving it along. Her solo on this opening track is typically well-constructed.

Antti Sarpila was a pupil of Bob Wilber, so it is understandable that he is expert on a variety of reed instruments. His sound on the soprano sax is reminiscent of Bob Wilber's Soprano Summit, and his clarinet tone is pure and graceful.

The repertoire is a thoughtful mixture of familiar tunes like Just One of Those Things, neglected items like Everything Happens to Me and Whispers in the Dark, and a few originals written by Sarpila (one with Sportiello). Three of the originals are actually based on classical pieces. Moonlight on Germont borrows Germont's aria from Verdi's La Traviata; Revolutionary Jump is Rossano Sportiello's favourite take on Chopin's popular Revolutionary Etude; and Swing ala Chopin is based on a Chopin waltz - with nice Goodmanesque clarinet from Antti. Even Cheek to Cheek begins with a quote from Chopin!

Antti's original Lesterity is a tribute to Lester Young, based on the chords of I Got Rhythm and reflecting Lester's style in Sarpila's lissom tenor sax. Antti's other original, Summer Night, is a gentle evocation  of nocturnal warmth caressed by his breathy tenor, here sounding remarkably Websterish.

All in all, this is a delightful set of unpretentious yet skilful, heartfelt jazz. My only complaint is that Ed Metz Jr. deserves to be heard more clearly.

 

Tony Augarde

 

 

 

 



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