Tony Deangelis graduated from Berklee College, where he met and played with some of today's top jazz musicians, such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Larry Grenadier and Roy Hargrove. It is apparent that he was an apt pupil by the quality of the music on his debut release, Everybody's Song Volume 1/2
. The tunes on the CD are an eclectic mix. Both volumes begin with a composition in triple meter, then a ballad. Each volume closes with an original by bassist Matthew Parrish.
Deangelis, the de facto leader, has assembled an excellent lineup and provided them with ample space to exhibit their considerable talents. The set moves primarily in the mainstream, but it also delves outside with very favorable results. The vastly underrated reedist Ralph Bowen deserves particular mention. Bowen provides several inspiring moments on flute, tenor and soprano saxophone, including his beautiful solo on the Ron Carter tune "Little Waltz. The other two members of the rhythm section, Jim Ridl (piano) and Matt Parrish (bass), impart an exemplary union of velocity, or give space where needed.
Throughout the release Deangelis provides crisp and inventive playing without falling into the trap of allowing the disc to turn into a drummer's program. His playing can be dynamic, as on "Takin Off and "Hail Caesar, or tastefully understated, as on the Leonard Bernstein ballad "Some Other Time.
Along with the impressive arrangements and compositions, the recording quality of this release is excellent. Engineer Matt Balitsaris did a great job capturing the sonic details, making every note seem to jump out of the speakers. This release will surely make my best of 2006 list. Since each musician heard here has now recorded as a leader, it remains to be seen if together they remain a working band. If so, I eagerly await their next release.
Personnel: Tony Deangelis: drums; Ralph Bowen: flute, soprano and tenor saxophones; Jim Ridl: piano; Matthew Parrish: bass.