All the music on Paul Serrato's latest excursion is original, except for the Miles Davis tune "Nardis." While the pianist brings in Latin and Brazilian rhythms to add flavour, he navigates mainly in the mainstream and brings along a tidy band to help him along. They get off to a fine start as "Transversal" lights a sparkling path helmed by Reggie Pittman, who plays the trumpet with distinction, exploring and coming up with some strong ideas that go to swell a tune. Serrato takes a lighter line that cavorts and with the congas and drums, adding a liquid base, and the tune makes for happy listening. The drive into hot climes comes through "Summer Blues," a punchy, loping number and another tune that gets its impetus from Pittman.
Brazilian jazz makes for a strong voice that comes in the three-part suite, each part written at a different time and manifesting a distinctive aspect of the music. Conguero Henry Morales, whose layered patterns shape the concepts impeccably, makes it all the more striking. Serrato establishes the tone on the swaying "Central Station Bossa," the rhythm nestling comfortably in the groove he sets up. The mood calms on "Blues in Rio" as Pittman picks up the flugelhorn and brings in a softer tone. And then it's back to the punch as "Assim E" dances in, the beat never letting go of its heady pulse.
They end well enough with "Mayan Moon," introduced by the funky whorl of the bass and congas before the long shimmering lines of the trumpet give it a different cast and it rises to a thundering climax. The effect is quite stunning and makes for a perfect finish to a pleasing album.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.