Eighty-five years young and with only his second solo outing to date, pianist Bob Acri swings and grooves the old fashioned way, along with an estimable supporting cast. He's been in the jazz trenches for years, amid stints with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, and others of note. And with assistance from trumpeter Lew Soloff, bassist George Mraz and others, Acri glides through a series of time-honored standards. His overall attack comprises an animated manner of spinning a melody. Acri pursues jazz music with a traditional sense of swing, to coincide with a novel sound that uplifts the tried and true into a contemporary slant.
Gabriele Mirabassi & Guinga
A magnificent series of duets by Mirabassi (clarinet) and Guinga (guitar) for the Italian record label's muse, consisting of Mediterranean motifs spiced with American jazz music. It's kind of like the advent of spring, where the flowers bloom and the grass turns green. Beautiful music heard here...
Frank Gratkowski Quartet
No doubt, this is one of the more interesting groups within the always expansive modern jazz/improvisational realm. Multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski and his quartet combines unorthodox metrics, such as disfigured march grooves with soaring motifs, and more. Get ready for a whirlwind tour that stacks up to be a probing and largely intense musical panorama.
Enrico Rava - Jazzpar 2002 Sextet
A former Danish Jazzpar Prize recipient, trumpeter Enrico Rava, and his band, including guitar hero John Abercrombie, liven up the audience via this straightforward program recorded at various locales in Denmark. Rava is one jazz's finest improvisers, partly due to his surging, thematic statements and ability to morph a given melody line into disparate shapes and colors.
Latin Jazz Fantasy
Random Chance Records
Composer/pianist Bill O'Connell segments these Latin jazz originals into various group settings, including a large scale orchestra. Regardless, the overall tone of this outing contains, crisp horn charts, tuneful choruses and perky Afro-Cuban rhythms. The majority of these works don't lose any steam after repeated spins. A scrupulously entertaining production it is.