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Dave ZINNO & Unisphere

River Of January

WHALING CITY SOUND WCS 101 [68:44]

 

 

 

1.Babycakes

2.Remember When

3.Feira Hippie

4.Inverno Sem Rio

5.Little Lilli

6.Recife Blues

7.Wichita Lineman

8.South End Blues

9.Rapanui

10.Um A Zero

Dave Zinno (double bass); Mike Tucker (tenor saxophone); Leo Genovese (piano, melodica); Rafael Barata (drums) with guest Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet) on tracks 8,9,10

rec. February 19th and 20th 2017 at Stable Sound Studio, Portsmouth, RI, USA

 

This disc is magnificent from the get go with a palpably infectious track by leader, bassist Dave Zinno himself, Babycakes. The same can be said for Paul Nagel’s Remember When which showcases Mike Tucker’s blistering facility on his chosen horn, the tenor sax. Feira Hippie is one of Tucker’s 3 compositions on the disc and underlines the connection with Argentina where he met Dave Zinno and his own previous collaborator, Rio born pianist Leo Genovese. Add drummer Rafael Barata and the mix is an irresistible and homogenously integrated group of musicians who clearly love performing together and who really listen to each other to ensure each track is as good as it can possibly be. Tucker’s second contribution, another Argentinian inspired track Inverno Sem Rio is one more that has his gorgeously measured playing illuminating every moment. Zinno’s Argentinian niece gives his Little Lilli a way of expressing his love for the child in a lovely and long (almost 11 minute) paean with soaring sax, intelligent pianism and superbly supportive rhythm section by Dave and Rafael. Lilli obviously was at an age when she raced around as all kids do at around the age of 2 as you can hear her doing it courtesy of the writing and musicianship of the quartet’s members.

With Recife Blues we move across to Brazil for inspiration with a piece by Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi though there’s little in the way of blues treatment in the fast and furious delivery here; it must have been one on those times when “I woke up this morning feeling GREAT!”

With Wichita Lineman we have a chance to catch our breath with this beautiful tune that is so gentle with Mike Tucker’s dreamy sax leading us in then handing over to an equally thoughtful and reflective piano from Leo Genovese returning to Mike and then Dave’s bass underlines the relaxed nature of this piece along with Rafael’s oh so caressing drums. Dave takes the tune back half way in with some really gorgeous playing and the tune finishes with Mike rounding off as he began making the experience a superb example of soporific music but don’t let yourself nod right off or you’ll miss a perfect example of cool jazz in the best sense of the phrase.

We enter a different area with the last three tracks since the quartet is joined by Eric “Benny” Bloom whose punctuating trumpet introduces a new element to the process and Mike Tucker’s South End Blues a perfect vehicle to begin it with; I thought that I knew the tune but can’t have but that goes to show how good it is, or it does to me.

With Rapanui we enter ‘experimental’ territory, courtesy of Leo Genovese so don’t expect a tune you can whistle later.

The disc ends with a rip roaring reworking by Mike Tucker of a piece by Brazilian Alfredo da Rocha Viana, Jr., better known as Pixinguinha and it is a fitting end to a great disc with all five members of the band delivering a fun, exciting piece brilliantly.

If you like your jazz uncomplicated with whistleable tunes (apart from track 9) then you’ll love this celebration of great tunes marvellously played and I can’t recommend it more highly.

Steve Arloff

 


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