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Cesar Cardoso: Dice of Tenors

Jack Bowers By

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Cesar Cardoso: Dice of Tenors
Dice of Tenors is Portuguese-bred tenor saxophonist César Cardoso's ardent salute to a half-dozen of the world's foremost tenor saxophone masters: Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Benny Golson. To carry out that purpose, Cardoso has convened an admirable octet on which he shares the front line with trumpeter Jason Palmer, alto Miguel Zenon, trombonist Massimo Morganti and vibraphonist Jeffery Davis. The group's hard-working rhythm section consists of pianist Oscar Graca, bassist Demian Cabaud and drummer Marcos Cavaleiro.

The album's eight tasteful numbers encompass two by Cardoso ("Rafaela," "Aguiero"), one each by Golson ("Along Came Betty"), Coltrane ("Giant Steps"), Henderson ("Recorda-Me") and Rollins ("St. Thomas"), Julian Robledo's "Three O'Clock in the Morning" and Irving Berlin's standard, "Remember." Cardoso wrote all the arrangements and infuses them with an ample amount of Latin rhythm and charm while giving such classics as "Betty," "Giant Steps" and "St. Thomas" a fresh coat of melodic paint. The Rollins theme, which rings down the curtain, is especially elusive, with Davis dancing around the melody as the tempo moves from unhurried to frisky; Rollins' memorable samba ultimately comes to the fore to complement glossy solos by Morganti, Graca and Zenon. While the bluesy "Three O'Clock" may seem a curious choice at first blush, it fits quite snugly into the over-all design, thanks above all to Cardoso's seductive chart.

"Remember," usually performed as a plaintive ballad, assumes a more calypso / foxtrot persona to abut sparkling solos by Palmer and Graca, while Cardoso's diaphanous "Rafaela," which follows, is an even-tempered serenade wherein Palmer's nimble trumpet again plays a leading role, as does Cardoso's expressive tenor. "Recorda-Me," on which Cardoso and Davis unleash their impressive techniques, is taken at a brisk tempo that safeguards its inherent charm; Cardoso's mid-tempo "Agueiro," introduced by Graca's evocative piano, is a lyrically incisive essay on which the brass, winds and rhythm excel in the wake of earnest solos by Cabaud, Zenon and Cavaleiro. In sum, Dice of Tenors is a bright and congenial session whose byways are as well-paved and refreshing as its main thoroughfare.

Track Listing

Along Came Betty; Remember; Rafaela; Three O'Clock In The Morning; Giant Steps; Recorda-Me; Agueiro; St. Thomas.

Personnel

César Cardoso: saxophone; Jason Palmer: drums; Miguel Zenon: saxophone; Massimo Morganti: trombone; Jeffery Davis: vibraphone; Oscar Graça: piano; Demian Cabaud: bass; Marcos Cavaleiro: drums.

Album information

Title: Dice of Tenors | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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