No young lion, tenor saxophonist Dino Govoni has been diligently mastering his craft while working steadily in the Boston–New York area for more than two decades, and the seasoning is evident on his impressive debut album, the well–named Breakin’ Out. Govoni, a blues–based modernist who lists John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Michael Brecker and fellow Bostonians Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone among his influences, has a warm, masculine sound, plays confidently at every tempo and seldom resorts to screeching or growling to express his melodic point of view. He is ably supported by a top–drawer rhythm section — resourceful pianist Henry Hey, sure–handed bassist Eddie Gomez, stylish drummer Bob Gullotti — and guest artists Garzone, guitarist Tim Miller and trumpeter John Allmark, in whose big band Govoni has played for more than ten years. Four of the compositions on Breakin’ Out are by Govoni, two by Garzone and one by trumpeter Tom Harrell. For standards, Govoni has chosen two of the loveliest songs ever written, Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are” and Victor Young / Ned Washington’s “Stella by Starlight.” Garzone joins him on “All the Things” and his own compositions “Tutti Italiani” and “(To the) Head Now!” What lingers in one’s mind is how close Garzone and Govoni are in their sound and improvisational style — almost interchangeable. If you’ve heard Garzone, who has several albums under his belt and has guested on a number of others, you’ll know roughly what to expect from Govoni. The session opens with Govoni’s bluesy “What’s the Difference . . .” and gently swaying “Shall We Dance?” After “All the Things,” played in 12 /8 with a 4 /4 bridge, come two more Govoni originals, the ballad “Marie–Pierre” (written for his wife) and boppish “Breakin’ Out” (with a slight flavor of Dizzy’s “Salt Peanuts”) followed by Harrell’s shapely bossa, “Angela,” which the trumpeter wrote for his wife. Govoni doubles on soprano on “Angela” but solos on tenor. Gomez’s unaccompanied bass introduces the darkly colored “Tutti Italiani,” written by Garzone after a visit to his homeland. Govoni delivers one of his most enterprising solos on “Stella,” and everyone (including Miller) cooks on Garzone’s lickety–split flag–waver, “(To the) Head Now!” A sharp, well–planned coming–out party for Govoni and his five perceptive companions.
Contact:Whaling City Sound, 560 Pleasant Street, PMB #01, New Bedford, MA 02740–6236. Web site, www.whalingcitysound.com
Track Listing: What
Personnel: Dino Govoni, tenor, soprano sax; George Garzone (3, 7, 9), tenor sax; John Allmark (1, 5, 6), trumpet, flugelhorn; Henry Hey, piano; Tim Miller (5, 7, 9), guitar; Eddie Gomez, bass; Bob Gullotti, drums.