Those listeners enamored with the classic sound of hard bop modernism that Blue Note propelled in the '50s and early '60s will be well served by Argentinian label Rivorecords whose catalog basks in the swinging sounds of the past, but adds a contemporary touch of urgency.
Label boss Justo Lo Prete has found a winning formula: top-notch Argentinian jazz musicians playing hard bop classics and standards in sophisticated arrangements, with the occasional original thrown in for good measure. All packaged in luxurious digipacks with distinctive design and beautiful photos. This must be the dream of every collector and music lover who wants to relive the past in the present.
Backstage Sally is another classy entry in the catalog of Rivorecords. Trumpeter Sergio Wagner and pianist Alan Zimmerman lead a sextet that discovers new magic in old themes like Jimmy Van Hausen's "Darn That Dream" and Jimmy Mchugh's "On the Sunny Side of the Street."
It's a band that smokes and a tune like trombonist Curtis Fuller's "The Egyptian" is right in the moment, with fiery, razor-sharp brass exchanges between trombonist Juan Canosa, saxophonist Juani Méndez and Wagner. Trumpeter Kenny Dorham is also saluted on congenial interpretations of "Sao Paulo" (misspelled Sao Pablo) and "Lotus Blossom," but Backstage Sally isn't so much an homage to a particular artist as it is a revitalization of an entire sound and tradition. The spirit of hard bop lives on Backstage Sally.
Track Listing: Backstage Sally; Sao Pablo; Caravan; Darn That Dream; Lotus Blossom; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; The Egyptian; So Sweet My little Girl.
Personnel: Sergio Wagner: trumpet; Alan Zimmerman: piano; Juani Méndez: tenor saxophone; Juan Canosa: trombone; Germán Lamonega: double bass; Sebastian Groshaus: drums.