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With advanced technology to the point that just about anyone can put together and sell their own CD (with little regard as to whether or not the music is worthy of dissemination or not, mind you), so much of the self-produced jazz which reaches this reviewer's doorstep is half-baked and not worth much more than a few spins. In a dichotomous turn to the other direction, drummer Michael Melito's second and most recent project is of such a high caliber in both execution and packaging that it gives the major label releases a run for their money. This is not to say that Melito's music makes any commercial concessions, just that its intelligent mainstream outlook is well recorded and tastefully presented.
With trumpeter Joe Magnarelli (on one cut) and tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart on hand, the hard bop performances as led by Melito definitely fall in the same category as the fare cultivated on the Criss Cross Jazz label. Stewart is so unduly neglected that it's a crime, but he's in great form here with a swagger that recalls earlier tenor icons such as Dexter Gordon (spin 'Nobody Else But Me' for proof). As for pianist Paul Hoffman and bassist Paul Gill, the two mesh seamlessly with Melito, who obviously has given much thought to the final recorded sound of his drum kit.
Among the ten tracks, which clock in at close to an hour, are a few originals by Melito, Hoffman, and Magnarelli. Freddie Hubbard's 'Happy Times' and Tina Brooks' 'Minor Move' are sagaciously chosen pleasures that reveal Melito's tastes in obscure chestnuts. Furthermore, choosing to lead in the service of the music, the drummer does not engage in flashy solos and bombast. As such, nothing overly dramatic occurs, but each musician speaks with his or her own voice and the swinging 'lan displayed by all will not doubt offer a healthy share of delights for those of the hard bop persuasion.
Track Listing: Happy Times, Nobody Else But Me, Minor Move, My Ideal, Jack Be Nimble, The Way I Feel, Bella Carolina, The Closer, The Closer (alternate take), Bolivia
Personnel: Michael Melito (drums), Paul Hoffman (piano), Paul Gill (bass), Grant Stewart (tenor sax), Joe Magnarelli (flugelhorn on "Bolivia" only)
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com