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Jim Rotondi: 1000 Rainbows

Bruce Lindsay By

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1000 Rainbows swings beautifully, drawing together a few original tunes from trumpeter Jim Rotondi and some out-of-the-ordinary classics that are delivered in real style by a classy quintet. The New York-based Rotondi has been in the jazz scene for more than 20 years and has an extensive back catalog of recordings as a leader. This is his third Posi-tone release as leader, following Four Of A Kind (2008) and Blues For Brother Ray (2009).

The musicians on this release are exceptional—they have a real sense of swing and a real feel for melodies, too. Vibes player Joe Locke is outstanding, whether trading solos with Rotondi or adding to the rhythmic drive of pianist Danny Grissett, drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Barak Mori.

Rotondi contributes three of his own compositions to the collection. They're all accessible, involving, tunes but "Gravitude"—a hard-bop style, driving, up-tempo number—is the standout of the three and features excellent solos from Locke and Rotondi.

The best-known tune here is Lennon and McCartney's "We Can Work It Out." Rotondi's version is more syncopated than The Beatles original, giving the song a fresh edge that's further enhanced by Grissett's percussive piano solo. The less well-known "1000 Rainbows" was written by the late vibes player Buddy Montgomery—Mori and Stewart lay down a strong and slinky groove on this tune, while Rotondi and Locke add distinctive solos. The most immediately enjoyable tune is Bill Mobley's "49th Street." The tune conjures up a real sense of a bustling New York thoroughfare, with its pacey rhythm. Stewart switches to brushes for the number, Rotondi plays some fine muted trumpet, Locke contributes a warm and uplifting vibes solo and Mori's bass solo is chunky and fun.

"Not Like This," written by British-born arranger Jeremy Lubbock and originally recorded by Al Jarreau, closes 1000 Rainbows in fine style. The tune opens with a brief solo from Locke before Rotondi enters to play a straightforward, sparse, melody line with great precision over Locke's gentle vibes. No one else appears, the front-line duo is all that's necessary to create a short but lovely performance to end a delightful and rewarding album.

Track Listing: Bizzaro World; We Can Work It Out; One For Felix; 1000 Rainbows; Crescent Street; Born To Be Blue; Gravitude; 49th Street; Not Like This.

Personnel: Jim Rotondi: trumpet; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Danny Grissett: piano; Barak Mori: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Title: 1000 Rainbows | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

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