Michael Pinto: Prologue (2009)
Though influenced by the great Milt Jackson, vibraphonist Mike Pinto has his own lofty ideas about the instrument as shown on this ambitious debut. His impressive mallet scissoring has been heard with notable drummers Billy Hart and Nasheet Waits as well as performances/recordings with another rising star, saxophonist Logan Richardson.
Pinto and Richardson, along with group members Christopher Tordini (bass), Tommy Crane (drums), and singer Sara Serpa, are young jazzers who aren't just content in rehashing past forms but artists trying to conceptualize new ideas. This is evident from Prologue's onset with "Enchantment," a gutsy reading of Greg Osby's "This is Bliss," from the iconic saxophonist's brilliant Symbol's of Light (A Solution) (Blue Note, 2001); most definitely not a run of the mill jazz standard.
This is also apparent in Pinto's "Vaal," a composition that includes both dissonance and consonance as Richardson's acerbic alto sax and Serpa's angelic voice nicely coalesce. "Tranya" continues these galaxy expanding atmospherics, a symphony of ideas and juxtapositions, that might fit nicely into modern classical music if not for Pinto's wonderful soaring vibes and deep improvisation changes. "Storm's Coming" draws inspiration from a line heard in a Star Trek episode, resulting in one of the recording's most enigmatic and dreamscaped tracks.
Pinto and Richardson's simpatico bond is highlighted on the spicy tempo of "Thin Line," which first appeared on the saxophonist's Inner Circle debut, Ethos (2009), their serpentine lines a swirl of energy and control. And on the recording's closer, "Until Tomorrow," an ethereal yet grounded display of each musician and instrument.
Pinto's love of jazz, symphonic music, and science fiction, makes Prologue unusual in every good sense; its willingness to take chances, solid musicianship, and not conforming to stereotypical jazz debuts. Whether it "boldly goes where no jazz artist has gone before" will be left to ears of the beholder but it clearly charts it's own destination.
Track Listing: Enchantment; Vaal; Tranya; Trelane; Storms Coming; Season of Renewal; Deneva; Thin Line; Until Tomorrow.
Personnel: Michael Pinto: vibraphone; Logan Richardson: alto saxophone; Christopher Tordini: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Sara Serpa: voice.