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If Mario Pavone were to be greeted with a fanfare of trumpets in celebration of the forty years he has been moulding music into inventive and challenging celebrations, he would probably look for bass and drums to ring the brass. Pavone is known to get the rhythm section out in front, and he continues to do so on Deez to Blues. That idea has more than its share of thrills, but his music continues to be the driving force. It is often exhilarating, but it also looks inward to pull a different emotional string. Driving it all the deeper on this recording are his choice of instrumentalists and the arrangements of Steven Bernstein.
True to his vision, "Zines brings out Michael Sarin's drums, Peter Madsen's piano and Pavone's own bass before Bernstein and Howard Johnson chip in to complete the head. The band assembles to lay a long swirl of colourful motifs before Bernstein moves on to forge a path of warped notes. Charles Burnham swings in, the bow of his violin sweeping deep before Madsen changes the tack with broken runs. Together they essay a path in constant flux, unexpectedly revealing the the focus of the visionaries involved.
Pavone and Burnham take "Dances 3/5 to a high plateau of conversation. The former bows the bass, the latter plucks the violin's strings. With a measured pace, they move on as Johnson comes in on the baritone saxophone. Brighter hues now dominate, Pavone frolics on the bass, and the band comes together all animated and gung-ho. They cast form, no longer an imperative, to the forces of free will, an enthralling change.
Deez to Blues is a triumph for Pavone and a record that will leave an indelible impression.
Track Listing: Zines; Deez; Xapo; Dances 3/5; Day of the Dark Bright Light; Ocbo; Second-Term Blues.
Personnel: Mario Pavone: bass; Steven Bernstein: trumpet, slide trumpet; Howard Johnson: tuba, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Charles Burnham: violin; Peter Madsen: piano; Michael Sarin: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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