Ethan Winogrand: Tangled Tango (2007)
Tangled Tango features a similar line-up to Winogrand's previous album, Made In Brooklyn (Clean Feed, 2003). Brooklyn-based guitarist Ross Bonadonna returns, with Spanish saxophonist Gorka Benitez replacing Donny McCaslin, while Eric Mingus' slot is now filled by Portuguese bassist Carlos Barretto. Mingus briefly returns for a cameo appearance on two cuts and trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob, Lounge Lizards) sits in on five tracks.
A pastiche of styles and genres, Winogrand's aesthetic is eclectic, but not jarring. Drawing inspiration from the noir-ish atmospherics of the early Lounge Lizards and Jazz Passengers, his writing is colorful, cinematic and evocative.
The title track struts along a one chord vamp, featuring a knotty electric guitar line from Bonadonna that complements Bernstein's expressive plunger muted solo. Pieces like "Broadway Jitters," "Transmissions" and "Time To Kill" are definitive. Accessible and spry boppish tunes, they swing with an appealing lilt, barely concealing their muscular drive. Demonstrating the core groups' empathetic sensibility, "Crocodilian Wag" and "Wrapping Paper" are collectively composed improvisations that are exploratory yet cohesive. Integrating understated rock and funk riffs and rhythms, "Pickup Sticks" and "She's Flying Gumbo Low" add a genial sensibility to the session.
An agreeable and solid effort, Tangled Tango is a reminder that jazz need not be overly stuffy or cerebral to deliver the goods.
Track Listing: Broadway Jitters; Transmissions; Successions; Una Vuelta; Tangled Tango; She's Flying Gumbo Low; Nocturnal Snow; Crocodilian Wag; Pickup Sticks; Time to Kill; What Next; Wrapping Paper.
Personnel: Gorka Benitez: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Steven Bernstein: trumpet, slide trumpet (2, 5, 7, 9, 12); Ross Bonadonna: guitar; Carlos Barretto: double bass; Eric Mingus: electric upright bass (5, 7); Ethan Winogrand: drums.
Record Label: Clean Feed Records
Style: Modern Jazz