Pianist Joey Calderazzo’s debut solo release for “Columbia Records” simply titled, Joey Calderazzo was recorded at the quaint and historic “Tarrytown Music Hall” in Tarrytown, New York and produced by the pianist’s ex-employer, Branford Marsalis. On this outing, Calderazzo aligns himself with an elite crew, as bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts infuse their exceptional talents throughout this synergistic affair......
Having performed with Calderazzo in saxophonist Michael Brecker’s band, Watts is an intuitive catalyst, which is altogether evident from the opening moments of the lushly melodic yet energetically executed lead track, titled, “The Oracle”. Here, the drummer, jabs, darts and tap dances with Patitucci and Calderazzo amid a loosely swinging vibe as the musician’s also display a carefree swagger which heats up thanks to Watt’s inventive implementation of rim shots and fervent Latin/Jazz swing beats.
The musician’s trade –fiery - fours on Calderazzo’s “Toonay” and elsewhere while the hard bop-ish “Detonate”, is straight out of the Bud Powell school complete with Calderazzo’s blistering attack, aided by the riveting accompaniment from the rhythm section. On this piece, Watts embarks on a monstrous polyrhythmic solo as the title “Detonation” is justifiably portrayed via the Trio’s slightly ominous and combustible output. It doesn’t stop here, as the band’s rendition of Michael Brecker’s up-tempo and somewhat brazen “Slings and Arrows” features the pianist’s heavy-handed use of block chords, swirling clusters and lilting themes while the musicians temper the proceedings a bit on the pleasant and richly melodic “Catania”.
Without a doubt, there’s a lot to get revved up about here, as Joey Calderazzo and his esteemed associates breath fire and passion into this well-conceived project. The musicians intertwine a provincial demeanor with blazing chops, a sharpshooter-like vision and good old reckless abandonment as this new release hits the mark, in meritorious fashion! ....... Highly recommended.
* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
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