Charlie Mariano: Silver Blue, The Door Is Open & The Great Concert


Sign in to view read count

Charlie Mariano with Cholet-Kanzig-Papaux Trio

Silver Blue



Julian F. Thayer / Charlie Mariano / Klaus Suonsaari

The Door Is Open



Charlie Mariano with Philip Catherine & Jasper van't Hof

The Great Concert: Stuttgart



On what are likely some of Charlie Mariano's final dates before his death last June, the alto poet carves through fresh (if simple) material and rebrands classics he's played since 1950 in quartet with rhythm section. Seldom does his tone falter, pitch waver, note choice err or line sag.

With pianist Jean-Christophe Cholet, bassist Heiri Kanzig and drummer Marcel Papaux on Silver Blue, Mariano plays King Lear, epic and center-stage among sympathetic followers. Tragic self-knowledge haunts languid-paced classics like "Prelude to a Kiss" and "My Funny Valentine." His dead-slow "My Foolish Heart" cries out to recall youthful pains and joys. "He's Gone" and "Half Moon In A Blue Sky" stand elegiac as Eurojazz-poems on wings, one ink-black and the other pallid. "Black Orpheus" opening with bleak verse, soon soars with bluesy hope.

With drummer Klaus Suonsaari and/or bassist Julian Thayer, Mariano is middleman in a set of free-blown cameo originals for The Door is Open. Each has a solo and paired duos; Mariano contributes only the nagaswaram-slinky "Prana." Except two ripping openers, Mariano's gravid, scalding balladry steals the show: "Folk Song," "Zaku" and the lone standard—a swooning "Street of Dreams."

The Great Concert, Mariano's reunion with fellow members of '70s Euro-fusion band Pork Pie, achieves high lyrical pitch in soulful communion. Unfurling six stretched melody-rich originals with guitarist Philip Catherine and pianist Jasper Van't Hof, Mariano, racked with cancer but incandescent of spirit, sounds relaxed, intense, his solos consistently ripe and nuanced. On "Quiet American" Mariano sounds as reedy as an accordion while on "Randy" he runs from heartfelt halcyon Willie Smith to blackstrap molasses-drippin' Hank Crawford.

Ever the sojourner through power gigs (Akiyoshi! Kenton! Mingus!), travels (often to India) and visionary bands (Osmosis, United Jazz & Rock Ensemble, Pork Pie), the once-restless seeker Mariano sounds at peace.

Tracks and Personnel

Silver Blue

Tracks: Prelude To A Kiss; Cheers My Lady; Ages Ago; My Funny Valentine; My Foolish Heart; He's Gone; Black Orpheus; Half Moon in a Blue Sky; Dorothee.

Personnel: Mariano: alto saxophone; Jean-Christophe Cholet: piano; Heiri Känzig: bass; Marcel Papaux: drums.

The Door Is Open

Tracks: Vaya; Drum 'n' Bass; Kyoung Ah's Dance; Folk Song; Bibimbap; Offering; Native Son; Prana; Zaku; For J.F.; Boys Night Out; Street of Dreams. .

Personnel: Julian F. Thayer: bass; Mariano: alto saxophone; Klaus Suonsaari: drums.

The Great Concert: Stuttgart

Tracks: Crystal Bells; The Quiet American; Randy; Mute; L'Éternel Désir; Plum Island.

Personnel: Mariano: alto saxophone; Jasper van' t Hof: piano; Phillip Catherine: guitar.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Cassette Plus Download Labels Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads" Multiple Reviews Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads
by John Eyles
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo" Multiple Reviews Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, &...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Montreux Through The Decades: Blues, Soul & Funk Recordings, Part 1" Multiple Reviews Montreux Through The Decades: Blues, Soul & Funk...
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Lee Morgan On Music Matters" Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF" Multiple Reviews Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 19, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.