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Gian Tornatore: Sink Or Swim (2004)

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Gian Tornatore: Sink Or Swim How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Sink Or Swim is the debut album by saxophonist Gian Tornatore. He and his band, featuring Jon Anderson on piano and Fender Rhodes, Zack Wallmark on bass, and David Christian on drums, create music rife with exploratory brooding. Particularly with the pulses of the Fender Rhodes in the mix, the album calls to mind the late period recordings of the second Miles Davis Quintet.

Tornatore composed six of the album's eight tracks (the two covers are "Nardis by Miles Davis and "Prelude in C Minor by Frederic Chopin, which is given a lovely and pensive reading with Wallmark on bowed bass). Tornatore's compositions are typically mid-tempo, winding affairs that give the band a good chance to stretch out. "San Francisco Style features a sparkling Fender Rhodes solo by Anderson in addition to some even-tempered statements by the leader on tenor. Elsewhere, on the aforementioned "Nardis, the band really gets a chance to cook. The arrangement starts out slow and funereal before it gathers steam and the musicians take turns whirling off exciting lines.

Sink Or Swim is an impressive and assured album from a young band that concentrates on fundamentals and avoids any gimmickry. These musicians play with admirable restraint and sensitivity to each other's strengths.

Track Listing: For RPMS; Heaven's Dew; San Francisco Style; Prelude in C Minor; Upstate; Lotus; Three's A Crowd; Nardis

Personnel: Gian Tornatore-tenor and soprano saxophone; Jon anderson-piano and Fender Rhodes; Zach Wallmark-bass; David Christian-drums

Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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