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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ENRICO TOMASSO

Al Dente

Woodville WVCD 139

 

 

1. Who Cares?
2. Gone and Crazy
3. Jubilee
4. The Good Life
5. Lullaby in Rhythm
6. Moonray
7. The Lamp is Low
8. Little Jazz
9. Rockin' Chair
10. I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good
11. Drop Me Off in Harlem
12. Brotherhood of Man

Enrico Tomasso - Trumpet, flugelhorn
John Pearce - Piano
Andrew Cleyndert - Bass
Bobby Worth - Drums

 

When Enrico Tomasso was aged seven, he played for Louis Armstrong, who was so impressed that the two became pen-friends until Louis died. Enrico's father was a clarinettist who found Enrico the finest teachers and sent him to Leeds College of Music, where Rico burnished his technique. The technique is so secure that listeners to this album (Tomasso's first as a leader) may disregard the technique and simply enjoy the sensitive treatment of a dozen tunes.

The repertoire is well-chosen, including familiar jazz standards as well as little-known songs. The opening Who Cares? illustrates Enrico's smooth improvisation as well as John Pearce's fluent soloing, although it is a pity that drummer Bobby Worth is almost inaudible. Gone and Crazy, a rarely-heard Johnny Hodges composition, mixes lyricism with swing. Another rare tune - Hoagy Carmichael's Jubilee - offers us a chance to wallow in Tomasso's mellow tone on the flugelhorn, backed by just bass and drums. Also seldom-heard is Artie Shaw's Moonray, on which Andy Cleyndert plays a fine solo.

One quality which is present in most of the songs chosen is their melodiousness. The Lamp is Low has a beautiful melody and benefits from a tasteful contribution by John Pearce, who quotes Wives and Lovers in the middle of his solo. Tracks 8 to 11 prove the importance of tradition to Enrico, as they include Roy Eldridge's famous feature Little Jazz, Hoagy Carmichael's Rockin' Chair and two numbers by Duke Ellington.

Little Jazz has the outspoken style for which Roy Eldridge was famous. I Got it Bad starts as a duet between trumpet and bass but unexpectedly turns into a jazz waltz. In Drop Me Off in Harlem, Tomasso uses a plunger mute and he swaps fours with Bobby Worth. Enrico says he was inspired to play Brotherhood of Man by hearing Clark Terry's version of the song. I doubt if anyone could quite match Terry's classic interpretation with the Oscar Peterson Trio (and those marvellous drum breaks by Ed Thigpen) but the quartet makes it a swinging end to a gorgeous CD.

Like Enrico himself, this album is likeably unpretentious. More, please.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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