How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Jerry Vivino has put together a fine straight-ahead session that also includes New Orleans funk, Latin jazz, bossa nova and highly creative improvised romps in several other styles.
Vivino's thirteen years with the Max Weinberg 7 in support of Conan O'Brien's late night television show has helped to convince him that variety works. Working in and around New York since he was a teenager, Vivino has learned how to communicate on many levels. After an appearance on the TV show by singer Keely Smith, the saxophonist hooked up with Smith in a musical partnership that has lasted six years. He plays alto sax, flute, alto flute and sings on this album, but it's his big fat tenor saxophone sound that cements the musical bond beyond doubt.
Walkin' with the Wazmo features plenty of excitement from Vivino's all-star band, and it comes from vastly different directions. Lew Soloff burns up "Cat's 'R' Us with a soaring trumpet feature that lingers. "Dorado Beach features the leader in a torrid Latin jazz affair that smokes incessantly. "Walkin' with the Wazmo and "The Fried Piper allow the band to strut comfortably with a contemporary funk mood that burns with soul power.
"Bellissima features guitarist Pete McCann and trombonist Mike Fahn in a lyrical bossa nova mood along with the leader's mellow flute and tenor saxophone. Throughout the program, Vivino steps forward with plenty of variety to give his audience a well-rounded set. Every track is a high point on this album, which comes recommended for its dedication to jazz's mainstream.
Track Listing: Pent Up House; Walkin’ with the Wazmo; Cats ‘R’ Us; Dorado Beach; Montelena Circle; The Fried Piper; Knock Me a Kiss; Red Moon; Bellissima; Dolphin Dance; I’m Mad About You.
Personnel: Jerry Vivino: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, alto flute, vocals; Brian Charette: piano, Hammond B-3 organ; Ken Levinsky: piano; Lew Soloff: trumpet; Michael Morreale: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mike Fahn: valve trombone; Kermit Driscoll: upright bass; Mike Merritt: Fender bass, upright zeta, upright bass; Shawn Pelton, James Wormworth, Ray Marchica: drums; Fred Walcott: percussion; Jimmy Vivino, Peter McCann, Greg Skaff: guitar; Tony Ferrari: vocals.