Michael Amendola: Big Sunflower (2003)
With music that reflects strong modern swing elements, his compositions are fresh and open. His septet has what Amendola calls an organic affinity, and the recording reveals a tight unit of musicians who clearly enjoy performing together. Phil Palombi is a formidable bassist, playing in the pocket on the up-tempo “Jerilyn,” where he also offers a mean bass solo. Pianist Rick Germanson performs with delicate grace on “New Avenue,” using just the right touches to evoke a variety of textures. Drummer Keith Hall adds spice with his drum kit on the quirky “No Wake” as Amendola spins a soprano message.
The interesting and textured arrangements on “A Mixed Blessing “ and “House of Jade” rely upon the blending of clarinet, flute, and trumpet in the background. Amendola’s tenor voice is warm and expressive, and his solos range from lengthy burners to heartfelt rumination on the poignant “You’re My Everything.” The hip, thoughtful, and true-swinging music on Big Sunflower consistently bursts with color, providing enjoyment all the way.
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Track Listing: 1. Big Sunflower 2. New Avenue 3. Way Up in the Air 4. A Mixed Blessing 5. Two 6. Jerilyn 7. House of Jade 8. No Wake 9. You
Personnel: Michael Amendola - Tenor and Soprano Saxophones; Rich Germanson - Piano; Phil Palombi - Bass; Keith Hall - Drums; Russ Johnson - Trumpet; Sam Furnace - Flute; Dave Riekenberg - Clarinet
Record Label: DCD Records