Frank Rosolino: The Last Recording (2006)
After serving in WWII, Rosolino's early big band experience included Gene Krupa (1948-49) and later Stan Kenton (1952-54), before he joined Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars during the late 1950s. Among the distinctive qualities of his playing was an ability to combine bop harmony with swing; a ten-minute take on "I Thought About You, a Jimmy Van Heusen standard, offers some swell peak Rosolino. Abetted by pianist Larry Willis, Rosolino begins rather playfully before segueing into varied shifts in harmony and time. Then a quiet solo by Willis provides some lyrical contrast before Rosolino returns with further changes in harmony and time. When he finally concludes, it's with the surging warmth of a beautiful, lengthy extended line that's as striking as it is irresistible.
A shorter rendition of the song is also included, where the adroitness of his playing is especially evident in the opening section. Here the ever-so-light dusting by drummer Billy Higgins seems more present. We're talking fine musical conversation. Just how much he was capable of mining from a single tune is further evidenced by two takes on "Misty ; the extended version is as fun as a summertime tumble down a grassy hill.
Sadly, a sufferer from severe depression (which was generally unknown then), his life ended tragically at only fifty-two, with the murder of his children and his own suicide in 1978. Thanks to his friend Armetos' determination we can now enjoy what ought to endurehis life-affirming music.
Track Listing: Misty (radio edit); I Thought About You (radio edit); Waltz for Diane (take two); Misty; I Thought About You; Waltz for Diane (take one).
Personnel: Frank Rosolino: trombone; Larry Willis: piano; Kevan Brandon: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.
Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz