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Mick Rossi: One Block From Planet Earth (2004)

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Mick Rossi: One Block From Planet Earth How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Mick Rossi's music brings to mind a couple of things. On one hand, it's reminiscent of Richard Feynman's life and work. Feynman, as is the quintet in One Block From Planet Earth, was multifaceted, humorous, life-relishing, unpretentiously profound, and a superb communicator of abstract concepts. On the other, it's reminiscent of the primeval concept of "talking through percussion, albeit here in a drawn-out alternative musical context.

This record has a full-bodied avant storytelling character and personality that successfully encompasses various vistas at once. However, it doesn't feel so much cinematic as it resembles a well-designed and written graphic novel. As one moves from the seemingly unbounded cells within cells of each cut—with their own respective timbres, textures, sonorities, and occasional hints of ethnic aromas imbued with jazzified classicism—it's not as if every change and transition is insinuated or even expected, but it all works quite fine. Even better, there aren't any of the brooding moods or insincerity-laden jaded-isms so common among so-called creative musicians.

A muted clarinet and trumpet chamber-like duo with reedman Andy Laster and Russ Johnson—whose playing is a particular standout—begins "Whatever. The leader then joins in, allowing the drummer to pulse away on cymbals as bass and piano engage in rather surreptitious playing, with an eventual loose frontal exchange of a bass, drum, and muted trumpet before Rossi and Laster take center stage. One hears a quintet morphing from duo to quintet, to trio, to duo, and back to quintet. The session's theme is non-linearity.

There's a somewhat theatrical head to "Henry and Ribsy. It features a percussively developmental nature, which then allows quite a baritone solo as drummer Charles Descarfino and bassist Mark Dresser engage in a fascinating exchange where time and pulse aren't dictatorial. Their backdrop to a remarkably meaty piano solo continues through the earthy blaring trumpet solo as the head is reincarnated through the coda.

Track Listing: 1. Page X (M. Rossi) 2. Henry and Ribsy (M. Rossi) 3. I Gotta Go to Bed (M. Rossi) 4. Through Lesser Things (M. Rossi) 5. Biohazard (M. Rossi) 6. Stasis (M. Rossi) 7. Changed (M. Rossi) 8. Whatever (M. Rossi)

Personnel: Bass: Mark Dresser: clarinet, alto & baritone saxophone: Andy Laster: drums & percussion: Charles Descarfino: piano: Mick Rossi: trumpet: Russ Johnson.

Record Label: OmniTone

Style: Modern Jazz


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