Articles by Nicholas F. Mondello


Album Review

Denise Donatelli: Whistling in the Dark... The Music of Burt Bacharach

Read "Whistling in the Dark... The Music of Burt Bacharach" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The Burt Bacharach canon has always been fertile ground for artists of all kinds to explore. Stan Getz devoted an entire album to his fare. The big Bacharach hits are branded deep in the cultural psyche. Thus, the challenge that Grammy-nominated vocalist Denise Donatelli and producer Larry Klein have here is how to use a different ladle to invite you to imbibe from their recipe for Bacharach's musical champagne. The session offers four Bacharach/Hal David hits--three hits ...



Alan Rubin: Mr. Fabulous in Every Way

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In the Hebrew language, the ancient word “Rubin" translates as “Behold, a son!" Yes, Alan Rubin, trumpeter, actor, studio phenomenon, beloved friend, respected colleague, loving husband and soulmate to his wife, Mary, was something to behold. Many people—even non-musicians— remember Rubin as a stalwart member of the “Saturday Night Live" and Blues Brothers Bands and as “Mr. Fabulous" in the iconic 1980 and 2000 films. Rendered somewhat “studio anonymous" to the general public similar to other New York trumpet greats ...


Album Review

Kerry Moffit: What Goes Around Comes Around

Read "What Goes Around Comes Around" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The karmic reference of the subtitle of this recording gives the impression that there's a surprise lurking somewhere in trumpeter/composer/arranger Kerry Moffit's jazz bag of tricks. The album, Moffit's first release after his spending decades starring in a U.S. Air Force band, is a superb presentation of jazz classics and originals. With this fine offering the perfect circle is formed--old and new, flowing in both directions. Moffit and crew launch things tastefully vintage with a cool take ...


History of Jazz

Pilar Arcos: An Extraordinary Life

Read "Pilar Arcos: An Extraordinary Life" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The fascinating life of Pilar Arcos is one carved aggressively by the Fates which were so very active as the 19th century paged over into the 20th. World and cultural events were exploding. Countries' wars for independence, the end of colonialism, the Spanish-American War and World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and the womens' rights movement, as well as emerging technological developments—automobiles, recording, communication, and film technologies—all were percolating. This was the exciting and volatile world in which future ...


Album Review

Monaco, Meurkens, Hoyson, Lucas: Strollin'

Read "Strollin'" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

There are albums that seem to warrant physical engagement on the part of the listener. It is that sort of a music-listener dynamic where a long joyride or easy walk while enjoying the sounds is in order. By its very title Strollin' gives it all away here. And, it's no secret: this is take- it-along-and-enjoy-it music. A highly-collaborative and very tasty effort, Strollin' has the “L and M boys" offering up seven tasty original compositions that are ...


Album Review

Antonio Tosques and Multi-Form Band: Touch Me

Read "Touch Me" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

With the possible exception of the upright bass (where it's more of a pas a deux), a guitar allows its player to bring the instrument intimately close to their heart and inner voice. The fingered manipulation of strings can trigger caresses, teases, intensities and poetry. Played well, as it is here on this excellent recording from guitarist/composer/educator Antonio Tosques and the Multi-Form Band, the music can speak from the player's soul to the listener's. With Touch Me, ...


Album Review

The New World Jazz Composers Octet: The Next Stage

Read "The Next Stage" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The jazz octet has long been somewhat of a “Swiss Army Knife" for composer-arrangers. Consider, for example, the great Dave Pell, Ornette Coleman, David Murray, and the J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding Octets. In the hands of great arrangers, the eight-piece format allows arrangers to leverage the flexibility and creativity of a “Messengers" frontline with the total sonic impact of a classic big band. The Next Stage from The New World Jazz Composers Octet is a superb ...


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