Vinnie Cutro & New York City Soundscape (with Mike Stern): Aberration (1999)
This album by Vinnie Cutro presents an interesting combination of featured guest artist and title. For the most part, it is Mike Stern’s washy technical noodling that makes for the aberrations on this otherwise authentic jazz exploration. With tracks by Woody Shaw ("Beyond All Limits"), Duke Ellington ("Sentimental Mood") and James Moody ("Moody’s Mood"), this album opens, closes and is greatly composed of rhythmic compositions colored by Cutro and Jones’ frilly and fiery brass. When Stern comes to play on Cutro’s four original tracks ("Aberration," "Inside Out," "Inception" and "Real Deal"), however, the album takes technical turns to the...well...aberrant. Though Stern shadows Cutro for most of "Inside," when solo time comes, Stern is all over the place. Similarly on ‘Inception," where Stern moves from sublte and often supportive accents to meandering lead arpeggios. When sticking to rhythm and brass, Cutro is givena greater opportunity to step forward and shine. The punchy opener takes Woody Shaw into the next millennium with power and pizzaz and the tribute to Duke is stately and softly regal. Cutro’s line on "Moody’s Mood" is clean and mellow, with enough bright spots to keep interest and "May I be Frank" closes the set with a do-be-do-be-autiful tribute to another great interpreter. So though there may be many title-worthy tracks on this album, they are the exceptions, not the rules.
Track Listing: 1. Beyond All Limits 2. Aberration 3. On the Road 4. In a Sentimental Mood 5. Inside Out 6. Inception 7. Real Deal 8. Moody
Personnel: Vinnie Cutro