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CD/LP/Track Review

Sympatico: Sympatico

By Published: March 1, 2000


On the back panel of the quartet Sympatico's eponymous release, there's a dictionary-like definition of the term. To quote:



Sympatico 1: to be in sync; to be in agreement with; to have an understanding, and like-mindedness; to partake of shared sympathy, or experience; to be in accord and harmony. 2: a jazz quartet with those qualities.



That sums up the primary quality of this CD nicely. One is impressed almost immediately by the high level of group interplay and comfort level among the players. The fact that all tunes except the closer were recorded live in the studio helps transmit this cohesiveness nicely. In the informative liner notes, the group lists a wide variety of influences, including Chick Corea, Jim Hall, the Yellowjackets, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. I detected many others, too, such as Pat Metheny in the guitar opening of the first tune, and Stanley Clarke or Bunny Brunel in the bass intro to "No Rage." But this group is nobody's clone, they have a voice all their own - which is something to say, given that the guitar-piano-bass-drums format is so common. While Steve Thomas (guitars) and Bob Ponte (keyboards) play both electric and acoustic instruments, this is not a fusionistic affair, it's a good mix of contemporary and traditional jazz characteristics. The solos are interesting and well-developed, and the playing is technically advanced yet easily approachable; there are no braggardly chops displays here. The compositions, all originals, are creative and engaging. Most noteworthy is "Day Late and a Dollar Short" which alternates a 15/8 time signature (with both 8-7 and 6-6-3 groupings) with a 7/4 funk-oriented section - yet it sounds natural, not awkward. Everything flows and rolls along nicely. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious disc. Make the effort to search it out. If you can't find it, try emailingsymjazz@aol.com . (Atwood Media AM1105)



Tracks:Can't Find It; JB Blues; Life's Dance; Innuendo; No Rage; Day Late and a Dollar Short; The Princess & the Jester; Danse & Lullabye. (50:40)

Personnel:

Steve Thomas - guitars; Bob Ponte - keyboards; Maggie Rizzi - bass; Stanley Swan - drums.

Record Label: Atwood Media

Style: Contemporary/Smooth



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