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John Polito: Crossing The Line

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With a focus on melody, pianist John Polito allows his compositions to ebb and flow with the tide. The forces of Nature play rather conservatively into the picture. Much of the session remains content to float drum backbeats and piano cascades in a smooth jazz backdrop.

Mother Nature provided the earliest forms of music. Early man must surely have appreciated some of that. But don't we take for granted those elements that return day after day? Here, Polito is giving us the opportunity to stop and reflect on the everyday music around us. A piano/cello duet portrays fields of wildflowers, gently massaged by the slow wind. Violin joins them for more impressionism. This time it's "In Motion," with mechanical scenes of the world's industrial players at work. Rollers, presses, gears, rotary fans and the constant humdrum of an assembly line would offer the same rhythms. Polito simply adds a gorgeous violin melody to all of that. His synthesizer seems capable of making any sound. Much of the album, however, rides too far with a moaning piano melody alongside its crying cello companion. Like the meandering waters of a mountain creek, Polito's music flows true without altering its course. The music is predictable.

"Spanish Rain" makes for a refreshing change of pace by dancing to a loping Caribbean rhythm in 5/4. The syncopation of "Aurora Alegre" makes it the high point of the album. Trumpet and trombone are added to classical guitar mastery to fold in both mariachi and flamenco elements. In contrast to the rest of Polito's album, this one contains excitement. Polito, guitarist Andy Abad and trumpeter Paul Witt capture the essence of Latin jazz with high spirits. One track, however, does not alter the mood of John Polito's debut album: smooth and predictable impressionism.

Track Listing: Euphoria; Spanish Rain; Time and Space; Aurora Alegre; Walk in the Clouds; Union; In Motion; Heaven Knows; Safe Passage; Home.

Personnel: John Polito- piano, keyboards; Doug Lunn- bass; Martin Florez- drums, percussion; Joe Nazzaretta- soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Paul Witt, Paul Salvo- trumpet; David Ryan- trombone; Charlie Bisharat- violin; Andy Abad- guitar; Ramiro Belgardt- cello; "The Last Minute Players"- string section.

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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