How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Sink or Swim features saxophonist Gian Tornatore's fine tenor and soprano saxophone work along with excellent support from Jon Anderson on piano and Fender Rhodes, Zach Wallmark on bass, and David Christian on drums. Tornatore's tone is clear as a bell and his compositions display a quiet intelligence that's refreshing to behold.
The CD is composed of six songs by Tornatore, plus Miles Davis' "Nardis" andwhy not?Chopin's Prelude in C Minor (Op. 28, No. 20). The highlights include Tornatore's "Three's a Crowd"; the melody line is lovely, lilting with a tinge of melancholy and Tornatore's playing moves from gentle and fluid to loose and swinging.
"Nardis" is another gem, a tribute to Davis which features tempo changes and a deeply swinging rhythm section. The Fender Rhodes is a nod to Davis' groundbreaking use of the electric piano, and Tornatore's solo work is intricate and inspired.
While Tornatore's saxophone propels Sink or Swim, credit must also be given to Anderson, Wallmark, and Christian. Their cohesive playing is essential to establishing the CD's low-key groove, which sets up Tornatore perfectly. Altogether the group combines serious chops with deeply felt expression, making Sink or Swim yet another fine addition to the Fresh Sound New Talent catalogue.
Track Listing: For RPMS; Heaven's Dew; San Francisco Style; Prelude in C Minor, Op. 28, No. 20; Upstate; Lotus; Three's A Crowd; Nardis.
Personnel: Gian Tornatore: Tenor & Soprano Saxophone; Jon Anderson: Piano & Fender Rhodes; Zach Wallmark: Bass; David Christian: Drums.