Fasten your seat belts...and let the dashing combo of tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon and organist Bobby Forester rocket you to exotic realms both familiar and new. Indeed, the tenor-organ tradition established by such stylish tandems as Stanley Turrentine-Jimmy Smith and Harold Vick-Shirley Scott lives large in this stellar hook-up between Weldon and Forrester, two friends whose musical and personal simpatico resonate everywhere.

"This is a date we've been thinking about for years," says Jerry. "Yeah, we go back to the late- 1970's" adds Bobby, "so it feels good to get this documented." It will also feel good to ay listener, whether a devotee of jazz, blues, rock or classical because these two consummate New York players are mature masters with plenty of savvy, sass and sophistication. Each is a virtuoso. More Significantly, Bobby and Jerry are first and foremost...musicians!

As they lock in, one senses deeply inscribed emotive and structural links. Their ESP-like interactivity is all the more arresting in that the dialogues unfold according to each tune's dramatic as well as musical logic. No grandstanding or playing for the bleachers here. And, egads, how they do swing!

Jerry, who lists tenor titans Stan Getz and Dexter Gordon among his favorites, Boasts such credits as Lionel Hampton, Harry Connick, Jr., and Brother Jack McDuff, another great pilot of the Hammond B-3. 

Bobby, currently backing blues diva Ruth Brown, has supported a cadre of fine tenorists including George Coleman, Sonny Stitt, Percy France and aforementioned Turrentine and Vick.

For Forrester and Weldon, then, the tenor-organ format is one of choice as well as experience. Throughout the date, the co-leaders get solid, supple backing from drummer Clarence "Tootsie" Bean, guitarist John Hart and percussionist Daniel Sadownick.

Things kick off with the gritty "BNT Blues," Forrester's and Bean's burner penned for a club scene in the Michael J. Fox film, Bright Lights, Big City(1988). Here, as elsewhere, Bobby and Jerry romp with a gutty yet thoughtful guile that connects to the listener's soul without getting in his face. Along with the leaders' forays, theres a bouyant workout by drummer Bean.

Next is the lithesome "Flamingo," here, a languorous, Latin-inflected showcase for Jerry's ethereal yet earthy balladry. "Flamingo" also offers a great sample of Bobby's subtly nuanced comping, a tasteful style exemplifying the maxim of doing more with less.

Matt Dennis's "Will You Still Be Mine" is a bright bopper embellished with Sadownick's crisp congas and Hart's sleek guitaristics, and graced with a turbo charged coda driven by Jerry's steaming tenor.

Then there's the evocative "I Feel So Bad" that Bobby first heard in a version by Elvis Presley. Here, Bobby's laid-back funkiness recalls the smoldering undulations of Booker T. and the MGs and Jimmy Smith's heyday at Blue Note back in the 1960s.

Jerry's heart-on-sleeve romanticism lifts "For All We Know," while Bobby and guitarist Hart spark "End of A Love Affair." The galvanizing title track, Jerry's "5X5", is a streamlined, minor mode trajectory in which Jerry Weldon's and organist Bobby take care of business with a hard, swinging edge.

"I'll Be Seeing You" is the evocative curtain-closer and an implicit promise that the dynamic Weldon-Forrester will be back with more terrific music.

In the meantime, producer George Petersen deserves a huge hand for giving us one of the great dates of the 1990's, saxophonist Jerry Weldon's and organist Bobby Forrester's always cooking, always musical 5X5!!

Dr. Chuck Berg

Phil Wilson and Paul Schmeling are both faculty members at the Berklee College of Music, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year as a highly respected institution of jazz studies. This recording is the result of thirty years of their mutual admiration and respect for each other. You feel like you are in a seminar with Wilson and Schmeling, who are cut from the same tree trunk.

Phil and Paul chose the music of Harold Arlen to display their own talents. Phil is no stranger to Arlen, as he has already recorded the music from "The Wizard of Oz." Paul utilizes all eighty-eight notes of the keyboard, incorporating a bit of stride on occasion, with the lush legato touch of Bill Evans. Backed by Wilson's bravura, Schmeling's playing is elegant...every note has a purpose.

I came to the boston area to make a career of radio. My hobby has been trombone playing and Wilson was my mentor. Thanks to our friendship, I resumed the slide. Phil's not just a trombone teacher from whom to learn about the seven positions, but also to learn about living. Phil teaches the entire body, not just the embrochure and the slide. He has appeared throughout the world as a featured artist and clinician. Phil has played with such minaries as Louis Armstrong, Buddy Rich, Herbie Hancock, Doc Severinson, Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, Clark Terry, Joe Williams and most of the European Radio Orchestras.

Harold Arlen has never sounded better. The ring of the horn and the rhythm of the piano make for a perfect duet. Here we have a couple of teaching greats creating Arlen magic. The game now is to figure out what Arlen tunes they did not fit into this compilation. Be satisfied, though for what they did include!

American music is in good hands with trombonist Phil Wilson and pianist Paul Schmeling. The exquisiteness of this particular duet is a once in a lifetime occurence. I want to hear this recording over and over again!

Tony Cennamo

Jerry and Bobby are back again as promised...They told me there was more to come and, by George, here it is! (That's producer George Petersen I'm referring to.) This second release by Weldon and Forrester for Cats Paw Records is more than just a follow-up to an excellent debut "Five by Five". It's a marriage of Bop and Groove made in Hammond heaven (I'm assuming you know the jazz organ combo is back). Suffice it to say that this recording will have many of the newcomers sitting up straight and ready for a lesson. Jerry and Bobby have paid dues with the same currency used in the heyday of the jazz organ phenomenon. They've played those Harlem and Newark clubs; working low budget organ-gigs just for the opportunity to get a Sonny Stitt or a Jack McDuff on the books. They've grown up in the same environment that spawned the tenor-organ sound. They have the smell of it in their noses; the feel of it in their fingers and the sound of it in their souls. They know what the tenor saxophone and the Hammond organ are supposed to sound like together...and on this recording, they prove it.

Jerry is grateful to have logged six years with Lionel Hampton's band. The training was invaluable for subsequent organ collaborations. "You really had to blow", Jerry recalls of his Hampton years, "You really had to play out and the organ has a certain big band quality about it...it's got so much power behind it that the two are kinda similar". Once Jerry realized the range between his two favorites, Stan Getz and Dexter Gordon, he seemed to settle into a mellifluous tenor groove. Hooking up with Bobby early in his career gave him confidence to blow behind and in front of the sustaining Hammond sound. He became a preferred reedman for numerous other organists. "After playing with Bobby for years, I was able to work with McDuff and McGriff". That's because Jerry knew what they needed.

Bobby brings the tradition of the jazz organ to the bandstand...From its Bill Davis roots through the early Jimmy Smith years and up to the present. All Hammond organs purportedly sound slightly different from one another but Bobby is consistently able to elicit the same deep-down ton, Churchy groove out of every one I've heard him play (even rentals on the road)! I know a lot of this comes from his twenty-plus years with the great Ruth Brown. "I consider her a big challenge to play with even today", says Bobby, "Because when she gives up that melody and you solo for sixteen bars, you've got to say something....instead of sixteen choruses like some fella, well, if you can say something in sixteen bars, that's worth something right there". That's where the coloring and voicings come from as Bobby moves those stops around searching for the music within the notes.

As in the debut recording, Bobby's stablemate, Clarence "Tootsie" Bean makes the session. "Tootsie" often accompanies Bobby and Jerry on organ gigs when they come off the road with Ruth Brown (like Showmans at 125th and 8th Ave. in NYC). His crisp time keeping and intuitiveness for organ bass make him an excellent drummer in this format. Fellow percussionist, Daniel Sadownick, isn't just supplemental as he fills in with smooth yet brisk conga slaps and thunks. And finally, John Hart on guitar plays like a sparkling, cool drink. His organ combo credentials seem to have skyrocketed, often finding him on the same gigs with Jerry behind many of the Hammond masters.

"J&B" shows us how a tenor-organ set should open...with Bobby's punchy bass setting the tone and John cleanly moving up and down and up tempo groove. Bobby tells a long story in a few choice words and Jerry rumbles back with echoes of Booker. The drummer gets some and then we're home.

"There Goes My Heart" draws an open, airy tone from Jerry's bell that's matched pleasantly by Bobby's comping in classic style. Nice and fat are solos from both John and Bobby who keeps the drawbars out for this familiar walk down lover's lane.

Close your eyes on "Mr. Lucky" and you'll find yourself feeling warm and comfy before you know it. John's guitar gently takes you through this musical space, letting Bobby's mood remind you of an era gone by but not forgotten. Jerry's voice resonates as it breathes deeply through this embouchure.

Look out!...Bobby opens big and bold on "One Mint Julep". No one's fakin' this one as credit goes to Tootsie and Daniel for keeping this tighter than tight and everyone gets in on some blues over the suggested speed limit.

"The Things We Did Last Summer" showcases Jerry's magnificent lyricism and command of the reed. His sound conjures up Al Hibbler while Bobby sculpts the accompaniment as if ruth Brown, herself, were there beside him. "A Ballad, Bobby reminds us, "is the hardest thing to play...You're out there in the open...there's no tempo runnin' by...that you could hang onto". You may find yourself listening to Jerry's closing comments over and over again...They're exquisite.

A nod to Diz in "Con Alma", moves more than just our heads. This re-working of a classic provides Jerry with a dance floor on which to bounce and float and Bobby an opportunity to coax us even more. John's liquid lines lure us further before all fingers give way to hands and Daniel turns the heat up, conga-style.

Happy is the feeling as "Bloomdido's" head jumps between your ears and settles somewhere in your smile. Jerry's versatile voice remembers Willis and Arnett before John 'Grants' us our guitar wish. Bobby tastefully recalls his brethren in flawless fashion before Jerry invites everyone back for 'fours'.

The title track, "The Second Time Around", seems to bring everything full circle. The playing is fresh and lively with no one ever stepping further out than needed. John's guitar is fresh and both Jerry and Bobby say whats necessary with confidence and poise. This one fades to a calm finish but certainly not to an ending as I'm sure you'll be pressing the 'play' button soon enough for that "Second Time Around".

Pete Fallico

In Newport gets right to the point - that being the beauty of the jazz trio; its ability to paint any picture in less than a moment's notice. Each three-piece unit has a life; an identity, of its own. A fingerprint of you will. You'll hear a true revelation of our musical identity on this recording. We love to shift gears - rhythm, style and texture. Standard repertoire is the vehicle.

"Smile" is a heartfelt little sixteen-bar tune by Charlie Chaplin. If you're familiar with his screen performances, you'll understand why we chose this simple melody that never goes away.

"Gravy Waltz" called many influences into play. We immediately felt a gospel groove ala Bernard Purdie in three-quarter time. For those unfamiliar with "Pretty Purdie," he is in large part responsible for a rhythmic style that creates a "Locomotive" feel that is a very powerful force. When Mac enriches this groove with gospel piano, well, you can't miss it!

"Because"- A Beatles tune - always risky but we love the "air" of this song so much we had to do it. Again, the trio's ability to orchestrate and provide voices helped us make the decision to do this one.

 

I guess we were in the "funk" mode for a good portion of these sessions. "THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE" and "THE BOOM-BOOM ROOM" reflect our love for "Sly," James Brown and Tower of Power. Jazz is not known for a slamming downbeat so it felt good to do just that and still improvise.

"Speak Low" and "Anastasia" are selections for "The Wee Small Hours" if you're so inclined - something to cut the chaos of everyday life.

Thinking back, I realized that Mac, Dave and I started our careers as trio players. After doing every other type of ensemble we've come full circle. We're really at home in this setting. The fire, intimacy, and sense of adventure are stronger than ever, and our hope is that these feelings emerge on this disc.

Simply, we wanted to document what might take place on any given night when your looking to find music "IN NEWPORT."

John Anter

It's been a hectic day in the city. Somehow the density of people combined with their propensity for rudeness takes its toll. All you want to do is go home, lock yourself in your cage and escape with some music.

If this sounds familiar to you, you'll definitely enjoy "Flying Colors," the latest from pianist/keyboardist Bob Hinz.

Bob is a true "musicians musician." With degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the Eastman School of Music, he has an intricate understanding of piano. He makes you feel really guilty you stopped taking lessons. Oh well...Fortunately for us, we can enjoy the fruits of his labor.

The first cut, "Chemistry," is not what you remember from high school. No periodic table here. Just great musicians mixing up a smooth, upbeat groove. With Ron Bertolet on alto sax, percussionist Ricardo Candelaria, and Bob Gallo on guitar, the elements are just right. Listen closely and check out Zach Danziger's drumming...I think he just invented some new rudiments.

Ron Bertolet's sax on "Autumn Place" is like a screaming whisper; relaxed yet powerful. This track takes you back to playing in the leaves. You can almost smell the wood burning in the fireplace.

"Sky Country" is the "peppermint patty" of this CD-when you listen to it you feel like you're on top of a cool and wintry mountain. this perfectly sets the stage for the title track, "Flying Colors," which takes us on a musical journey from bossa-style rhythms to Wes Montgomery-esque riffs to Hinz's elegant, cascading piano solos.

"Possibilities" has such an upbeat groove it makes you feel as if anything is possible, while "intima" combines the sophistication of Paris, the casual feel of a Sunday afternoon, and the hipness of downtown. Just when you think you know where it's going, you're led down a different musical path.

Hosting a program in New York City for WQCD-FM(CD101.9), I get the opportunity to listen to a lot of new releases. Rarely does a new CD seem so at home in my machine as "Flying Colors." This is the kind of record you just know the band had fun recording. It comes right through the speakers and releases your mind, body and spirit from the craziness outside.

Ian Karr

It's always interesting to guess the age of a performer from a recording. Maturity shows.

For one thing, there's confidence, not in the brilliance of the technique but in what the performance implies. Having been there, mature performers exude a depth of emotion that younger players lack as they hide behind velocity and volume. Volume of sound and volume of notes.

And there's choice of music as well. Rather than contriving a repertoire to highlight virtuosity or to reiterate the masters' licks for whatever effect, the mature performer seems to select tunes with personal meaning or for sheer beauty.

That kind of guessing game has its rewards, if only for creating self-congratulatory smugness. For while it's difficult to ascertain Bobulinski's age from the cover of the liner notes-Bobulinski of the dapper green broad-brimmed hat and rainbow-hued untucked shirt-Clark Terry's liner notes mention that Bobulinski dedicates the album to his granddaughter. Indeed, Bobulinski appeared on the Clark Terry Big Band CD's, Live at the Witchita Jazz Festival and Live at Buddy's Place, which included fellow band members Ernie Wilkins, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess and Duke Jordan, among others.

With a type of Ruby Braffishness, Bobulinski calls attention to the harmonic richness of the songs on this album by exuding drums on seven of the ten selections. In fact, the three tunes involving Bross Townsend are trimmed down to just trumpet/flugelhorn and piano.

With his lyrical, airy and bright tone, Bobulinski unpretentiously leads his fellow professionals through unrushed renditions of standards, allowing for their own personal statements along the way as extended solos or opportunities to trade fours.

Townsend and guitarist Dan Weiss stand out by being part of the team as they advance the development of their songs on which they perform. But more than that, their solos represent personalized and technically impressive departures from their melodies. Weiss in particular prods Bobulinski from lyricism to humor in I've Never Been in Love Before as they throw ideas back and forth.

On the other hand, A Child is Born is positively lugubrious in an ironic sort of way as Kirchmer sustains three-beat lopes, accented by the rumbles and swishes of Ed Balsamo with his mallets commenting behind James Guarnieri who keeps time with the brushes. Bubulinski plaintively wrings darkened emotions from the song with grace-noted clarity of tone as Marx harmonizes and offsets Bobulinski's plain-spokenness with a bluesier sensibility.

For contrast, all five of the Child Is Born group romp through Dixieland-inflected Wabash, the least meditative and joyous selection on the album. 

Clark Terry mentions that the musicians on East of the Sun "deserve wider recognition," and like everything else on this album, thats and understatement.

Bill Donaldson

The dynamic quartet Mood Swing lives up to its name on Very Little Steps (Cat's Paw CPD-2201;55:49), offering a pleasing variety of settings for its joyful, swing-out hooks. Where "Corrective Action" combines a soulful organ whirr and blippy electronic sound with the solid rip of percolating bass, "Denise" swings and sings with ride percussion and lovely piano work. The band really steps out on the meaty rocking walk "Buzz-head," detailed with funky drawled bass notes, and the hot rhythmic combinations of "Five and Dime." Mood Swing also chooses its covers wisely, with Tom Westbay's sax capturing just the right wistful melancholy on Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," and a basic arrangement de-sappifying Madonna's "Live to Tell." The only over-sweetening, on Seal's "Prayer for the Dying," is minor in the context of such a strong, captivating outgoing.

Ray Alexander is one of those musicians who was born to swing. In his case he has chosen to express himself on vibes, and Vigorous Vibes (Cats Paw - CPD-4104) is a fine example of his artistry. With the backing of Mac Chrupcala on piano, Marshall Wood on bass and John Anter on drums, Alexander hits many bases. Horace Silver's classic, "The Preacher," kicks off the disc with plenty of verve. His own "Sweet Bossa" has a title to tell you what road the song takes. Pop standards like "Sunday," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Love Walked In" are also well represented. Alexander even provides a taste of his vocalizing on "Victoria Sez," a humorous and hip little ditty. Throughout Alexander maintains a high level of musicianship and is ably supported by the rhythm section, who seem to be having a ball, as will you if you give Vigorous Vibes a listen.

Mood Swing, an eclectic Valley Stream-based jazz band, just released its debut CD for Cats Paw Records.

The CD, entitled "Very Little Steps" features a blend of hip-hop, mainstream and contemporary jazz reflective of the bands name. According to John Passarelli, Keyboardist, sales of the Cd are doing very well. "Jazz is no longer a bad word," he said. "It has become a viable, listenable art form attracting a huge audience. Passarelli, who resides in Valley Stream, said every song on the CD is different. "We have songs with Latin influences, hip-hop, waltzes and we cover some Peter Gabriel and Seal songs," he said.

The band was formed 6 years ago by Passarelli and bassist Mike Belmonte. "We [Mike and I] actually started a rock band about 13 years ago," Passarelli said. "We went through quite a number of bands ranging from rock to pop to dance." Passarelli looked up college buddy Tom Westbay to join in on saxophone and Joseph Nocilla on drums. Nocilla was playing with them in a wedding band.

They found their niche, jazz, and have been touring clubs, performing promos and playing festivals ever since. They first went to clubs that didn't offer any music and created their own market at these venues. In the summer of 1994 the band performed at the Hartford Jazz Festival and have been performing around the tri-state area. "The band is very easy to listen to," Passarelli said. "The songs are memorable."

Soon you will be hearing Mood Swing on local radio stations. They are negotiating with CD 101 to promote their CD. "Our stuff is played on commercial jazz stations across the country," Passarelli said. 

While Passarelli and Nocilla had years of training, Michael Belmonte was the natural. "He never took a lesson in his life," Passarelli said. "It just came naturally to him."

Jazz is the perfect medium for this Long Island-bred quartet. With the number of rock bands out there, the only way you can stay on top when you are in your 50s is if you are Mick Jagger, Passarelli said, noting the band members are in their 30s. "Jazz musicians have an illustrious career," he said. "Look at Spyro Gyra or Kenny G. They're in their late 30s and just starting their careers."

Mood Swing will be performing every three weeks at Viva Loco in Huntington. The next date is Nov. 30. on Dec. 1 the group will promote its new CD at Tower Records in Huntington Station at 6 p.m.

The band had released a CD with the same title a few years back. The new CD contains new songs.

When fellow zinester and PASSIONS member Bob Koenig told me he was cutting a new CD, I was very happy for him and looking forward to hearing it; his last effort, a country music tape was quite good. However, I usually dont buy a lot of CD's-even from performers who i'm really crazy over. On the other hand, it would be nice to support "one of our own".

Well, Bob made it easy for me...he gave me a copy of his new CD, "Prose & Icons"-a mostly pop-oriented mix of ballads and up-beat soft rock. Now if I didn't like it at all, I wouldn't review it and say I liked it 'cause that wouldn't be right and I don't think Bob would want that; I also wouldn't write a bad review about it and hurt his feelings. I'd probably just say some nice things, personally, to Bob about what I did think was good and offer some constructive criticism if asked for it.

Happily, Bob made it easy for me again...he put out a really fine album-one that I enjoy reviewing. The first thing I noticed, when keying it up, is that the production values are excellent; producer & engineer George Petersen, of Cat's Paw Recording in Mineola and Bob deserve a lot of credit. The mix between instruments and vocals is perfect and the overall sound clean and bright-a first rate job!

Bob wrote all but three of the songs. The opening cut, "The Apple", is one of the best. Catchy? I was humming it the next day and couldn't get it out of my head. It features strong lead and background vocals, some attention-grabbing chord changes and an often complex, twangy lead guitar. Vibrant guitar work also makes "Egos on Parade" stand out and a great hook makes "River in you, River in me" quite interesting; PASSIONS readers will note that some early versions of the lyrics to this cut were included in one of Bb's earlier contributions.

"8-track Moment" is a novel lead-in to a cover of Tommy James & Bob Kings "Tighter, Tighter"...and a fine duet between Bob and wife Jesse; I thought she sounds a little like Grace Slick without the drugs but she reminded Joe Torcivia of Linda Rondstadt. Some very quick-picking on the guitar combine with vocal overdubs and great rhyming lyrics to make "Spirit becomes the master" stand out.

"You won't be the sole stone caster. When the spirit becomes the master, your long term investments become a destest-ment, Hanging on 'til the River runs dry"

The only two cuts I didn't like-"Without You" and "My Heart is True"-are very slow ballads. I felt the vocals were a bit weak, the messages and the melodies too simplistic; they might work better with a different singer or another arrangement. I could imagine someone like Peter Gabriel mournfully singing one of these two cuts in his inimitable way. The only other suggestions I might have offered for the album would have been to try and add a little more variation between some of the tunes; maybe put in a little more piano on one cut, perhaps a sax solo on another. (Another duet with Jesse would also be nice.)

My favorite song on the album, however, is a cover of George Harrison's "Give Me Love(Give Me Peace on Earth)". Bob and his band of studio performers have crafted a version that closely mimics the essence of the original Beatles hit and yet personalizes it with a unique, slightly out-of-synch phrasing of vocals and guitar treatment near the end. Harmonies are top notch all around, with Bob's voice a very close duplication of Harrison's (You held that long note really well, Bob!) This is as good as it gets!

If any of our readers are in the market for a good collection of listenable soft-rock featuring mostly originals by a local talent, give "Prose & Icons" a chance. If you can't find it in a nearby store, give Bob a call or contact Cat's Paw Records.

PASSIONS

The Hammond B-3 continues its jazz resurgence with this, the second Cat's Paw release from Weldon and Forrester. This ensemble recalls the heyday of jazz organ, specifically Jimmy Smith's 60's groups with Stanley Turrentine. However, while not as "contemporary" as Greg Hatza's ORGANization, this band does inject a modern feel into their warm blend of bebop and organ groove. This album doesn't break any new ground for the jazz organ combo, but it's a comfortably familiar and relaxing sound.

Weldon and Hart add suitable ambience to the band, as Jimmy Turrentine and Kenny Burrell did for Jimmy Smith, but these players dont consciously emulate their fore-bearers as much as pay tribute to them. The set's one original tune, J&B, starts the disc off in fine flair as Forrester maintains a quick bass-pedal groove throughout. The remaining tunes are standards ranging from two Sammy Cahn gems to Dizzy's Con Alma and Bird's Bloomdido, and the band swings proudly in all areas. Weldon in particular is as capable of blowing good bop as he is of exuding blue soul. This one is recommended for Hammond devotees and fans of straight-ahead grooving.

Jazz News

If Chuck Mangione is your cup of tea, you'll love James Ingenito. The young flugelhorn master and composer from Long Island offers us 12 tracks arranged in contemporary light fusion and funk settings. The rhythm section provides excellent support and accompaniment, with D'Angelo providing solid bass lines, and Roselli laying down a groove deep enough to fall into.

The light funk-fusion formula really works with these guys. They have enough experience playing both types of music that they merge the two successfully within a progressive environment. Keyboardists Pisano and Senerchia possess a wide range of emotional color and personal voicings that offer the right touch of creative energy at the right places.

Ingenito's warm and enchanting tones will lull you into altered states of alpha and provide a pleasant respite from everyday stress. This is not to say that this sound is all sensitive and warm, he knows how to get an edge as well. On the title track, Rhythm Room Blue, Ingenito blasts the ensemble lines with an emphatic and eloquent edge, adding a sophisticated level of intensity and drive to the original composition.

Stonybrook, the first track of the CD, embraces a delightful and pleasant melody by Ingenito. He definitely has a knack for writing strong melodies that are accessible to the average ear while maintaining a high level of artistic quality and musicianship. The arrangements are simple and uncomplicated, providing color, shading, and accent for important melody lines and punches. This is a good quality in this type of setting, whereas overbearing arrangements can dissipate the focus of the overall composition.

The standard My Funny Valentine again gets a light fusion-funk feel to it, which for the most part, is refreshing. Ingenito's soaring and soothing flugelhorn gives us a colorful juxtaposition to the rhythm section's funk-a-fied syncopations.

T.N.

Inner Vision provides a retro treat with Tropico (Cats Paw CPD-6301; 43:20). Trombonist Warren Moore's horn arrangements provide an unexpected spark on lighter tunes- like the lithe, Jobim-like "In the Clouds" and a piping, sun and surf read of Dionne Warwick's pop chestnut "Deja Vu" (featuring a cool fluegelhorn solo by Ronnie Buttacavali)-but the power side rules the house. The funky "C&N" demonstrates a wall of big brass power and execution and Moore's original "rBST" runs with jangling guitars, and horn sounds hitting staccato and jumping off. Another Moore-penned gem, "Point 9," has a laid-back, yet tough strut and swagger recalling the famed L.A. Jazz Ensemble. In the age of programmed-and-synthesized arrangements, Inner Vision's real, in-your-face approach is a change of pace that classic jazz fans will love.

Trombonist Howard Prince's new recording takes off immediately with a drum roll and a blast of horns, instantly engaging the listener. With players like John Stubblefield, Claudio Roditi, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith as part of a rotating cast of characters, you know you're going to get a lot of bang for your buck.

There are some peaceful moments too. Prince's "Memories" played as a duet with guitarist Dave Moreno is pretty and complex. But more of the tunes are like the funky "The Loop," or the short and sassy "Double Take" where bassist Bryce Sebastien's throbbing pizzicato leads us into something sounding like a latin circus. Guitarist Moreno also wails on a mean rock driven guitar in some places, while pianist Jon Davis plays alternately smooth, discordant and boppish. The other players are too numerous to mention, but suffice it to say that there's a lot of action, both acoustic and electric, with spicy percussive touches seasoning the mix. Prince composed most of the pieces and slides a tasty trombone throughout.

Sunsh Stein

You can count on one hand the number of bassoon players to make a name in jazz, and no wonder. Not only does the bassoon, like the oboe, require a fragile, balky double reed, but it was designed by a masochist who assigned no fewer than 14 keys to the thumbs-which on any other woodwind mostly just hold the damn thing up. But Michael Rabinowitz merits a place in jazz history for more than membership in this tiny club: he has managed to craft a viable, idiosyncratic style that incorporates his instrument's strengths while mitigating it's weaknesses. Rabinowitz first showed up on a 1981 Ira Sullivan album, where his playing contributed a tentative novelty; in the ensuing years he's evolved into an astonishingly forceful presence. On the symphonic stage the bassoon is best known as the stern, aloof voice of the grandfather in Prokofievs's Peter and the Wolf, but in Rabinowitz's hands it sounds like it could eat gramps alive. He has learned to swing hard and sail above a rhythm section, even though the bassoon sounds as if it were born to burrow; and he takes advantage of the instrument's malleable timbre to reach the time-honored jazz goals of expressivity and individuality. On two recent albums, Bassoon on Fire (Cat's Paw) and Gabrielle's Balloon (Jazz Focus), the instrument holds it own against two of its more popular cousins. His recording of John Coltrane's "Central Park West" manipulates the upper register to sound exactly like a flute-which makes his plunge into the throaty low register all the more delicious. And when he sticks to the middle register, with the piano doubling the melody, he approaches the vaunted power of the tenor sax. But Rabinowitz is most impressive when he finds his own hip applications for his uncool instrument: staccato slap-tonguing to create a hip-hop rhythm, or wildly bending notes to get a banshee moan that most soprano saxists can only dream about. 

Neil Tesser