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A product of vocally imitating complex bop solos, vocalese grew into a respectable singular art form under its most famous practitioners, King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson. On the swinging Centerpiece , Giacomo Gates uses these two giants as touchstones and makes the genre his own.
In addition to his deep, rich tonal quality, Gates' impressive vocal arsenal includes whistling, scat and mood-inducing intros. He uses these talents to lead us through a delightfully varied program consisting of ballads, blues and bop. Things begin with an easy "Summertime" groove that has the Gershwin classic stripped down by Ray Drummond's bass, only to be kicked up a notch by pianist Harold Danko's chords and Greg Bandy's drumming. Danko's chordal backdrops augment tunes like Tadd Dameron's lyricised "Lady Bird," while his solo breaks inventively explore standards like "All of Me."
The trio traverses the diverse program in style and guest appearances by guitarist Vic Juris and saxophonist Vincent Herring do much to expand the overall soundscape. Juris uses his guitar to color both the title cut and the Gene Ammons/King Pleasure classic "Hittin the Jug/Swan Song" blue, while Herring's sax solo sweetly complements Gates' vocalese on "How High the Moon/Ornithology" and swings with him on "Lady Bird." Herring then takes things a little more out on "Milestones" as Gates expertly executes his own inventively composed lyrical interpretation of the Miles Davis classic.
Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" is given a laid back treatment that includes a pleasingly expressive mouth trombone solo before Gates leisurely drives from Chicago to L.A. by way of "Route 66." Gates uses the instrumental quality of his voice to effortlessly navigate the challenging phrasing, exacting lyric and precise tempo demands of Centerpiece to create an engaging, fun-filled session.
Track Listing: Summertime; I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out; Centerpiece; How High the Moon / Ornithology; You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To; All Of Me; Lady Bird; Route 66; Scotch & Soda; Lester Leaps In / I Got the Blues; Milestones; Hittin' the Jug / Swan Song.
Personnel: Giacomo Gates- vocals; Harold Danko- piano; Ray Drummond- bass; Greg Bandy- drums; Vincent Herring- alto saxophone; Vic Juris- guitar.
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