Joe Ascione Quartet: Movin' Up (2008)
To be more specific: Movin' Up begins with the infectious title shuffle, written by Ascione, that first reveals the copious talents of the band, including John Concuzzi's fine doubling on piano and vibes (on his vocal, "It Was a Very Good Year," he sounds much like Freddie Cole). The end is a delightful second-line take on "Aba Daba Honeymoon." In between, the CD is a mood-elevating journey through a lush landscape of romantic standards.
Peak moments abound: Ascione's joyous arrangement of "So In Love" (his own wedding song) with his deep drum echoes of a samba parade; the mix of clarinetist Alan Vache's full-out, skyward wailing, bassist Frank Tate's powerful walking, Ascione's dazzling brushwork on "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah's Got Rhythm," and the bright, Latin/Caribbean flavor of "True Love." The quartet's seven-minute version of "Get Out of Town" swings like mad, as does their version of "Love Walked In"; "The Touch of Your Lips" is a bit cooler, but no less propulsive. Ascione also freshens up "Summertime," Gershwin's most overdone tune, by merging a driving Afro-Cuban beat with an intricate drum solo.
The experience is enhanced by Ascione's articulate liners, which explain his inspirations and intent, and highlight how much the band enjoyed making this musictheir pleasure is so audible that it adds a great deal to the listeners' as well. Movin' Up is a stylish, classy album that reflects a new high in a long and successful career. As Ascione says, "The party continues!" And so it does. Chips and dips? Right over there...
Track Listing: Movin' Up; So in Love; Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah's Got Rhythm; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face/Norwegian Wood; True Love; It Was a Very Good Year; Love Walked In; Summertime; The Touch of Your Lips; Get Out of Town; The Aba Daba Honeymoon.
Personnel: Joe Ascione: drums, Djembe drum, shakers; Allan Vache: clarinet; John Cocuzzi: piano, vibes, vocal; Frank Tate: bass.
Record Label: Arbors Records