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Jim Rotondi: 1000 Rainbows

Dan Bilawsky By

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Trumpeter Jim Rotondi's steady stream of solo albums and work with the collective supergroup One For All—along with his role as a jazz educator and Selmer clinician—have put him at the epicenter of the jazz world. For this, his third album on Posi-Tone Records, Rotondi rounded up some fellow Big Apple-based heavy hitters to join him, including vibraphonist Joe Locke and drummer Bill Stewart.

Rotondi tackles everything from The Beatles to Buddy Montgomery on 1000 Rainbows and, just like a rainbow covers a whole spectrum of colors, Rotondi spans a broad range of styles. "Bizzaro World" moves from a Latin groove to a double-time swing feel, introducing the trumpet and vibraphone frontline that is featured prominently throughout. "We Can Work It Out" touches on the popular Lennon/McCartney melody before moving on to serve as a platform for some impressive soloing. Locke has some rapid runs across the vibes, while Rotondi throws in a few tornado-tongued licks and pianist Danny Grissett reaches into his blues bag, during their respective solos.

Rotondi makes sure to throw a jazz waltz into the mix with his engaging "One For Felix," while the title track—underscored by a hip, slow-strutting groove from Stewart and a bass line from Barak Mori that manages to be both nonchalant and full of attitude—proves to be an album highlight. Locke's "Crescent Street" is full of tricky unison hits, and everybody, save Mori, gets some room to let loose. Rotondi and Locke have some terrific solo exchanges on "Gravitude," while both Grissett and Stewart are superb in their solo spots. Rotondi provides some muted magic on "49th Street," and Mori gets his only solo spot on the album.

While the trumpeter clearly excels on the livelier material, ballads also have their place. "Born To Be Blue" features some sensitive work from Rotondi and Grissett, but the all-too-brief take on "Not Like This"—with a gorgeous blend of vibraphone and trumpet that comes off as musical reverie—carries more impact.

In the end, this album is a story of numbers. Five superb musicians came together as one to create the nine tracks that make up the singularly superb 1000 Rainbows.

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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