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Gian Tornatore: Fall

Woodrow Wilkins By

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He was just 16 when he had his first major performance. Now, saxophonist Gian Tornatore is making his mark in jazz, releasing his third album as a band leader. And he does it in a style apart from what the mainstream expects of this instrument.

From performing for the rock band Heart to the Monterey Jazz Festival, Tornatore is recognized by several major publications, and in 2008, he was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. For Fall, he is joined by Nate Radley on guitar, Jon Anderson on piano, Thomas Kneeland on bass and Jordan Perlson on drums.

"La Vita" is a moderately paced piece, highlighted by Perlson's crisp accents on the cymbals. Tornatore's soft tenor sax lead is elegant but not overpowering. The bass is subtle but effective. During the tenor solo, all players are deeply involved, but Perlson stands out as he throws down some emphatic strikes on the snare and the toms, which pick up in intensity as Tornatore builds to his solo's climax. Radley and Anderson also solo.

"La Copa del Mondo" is a mood changer. The song begins with a complicated melody, then shifts tempos and styles several times throughout. Radley enjoys an extended solo that bridges some of these changes. After Radley, the tenor delivers a series of high-speed bursts before settling into a free-spirited solo. Throughout, piano, bass and drums are engaging, with Perslon's solo softly bolstered by Anderson and Kneeland.

Tornatore, who also plays soprano sax, composed all eight tracks. His adept play is complemented well by his sidemen, who strike that delicate balance between solid group play and individual expression.

Track Listing: La Vita; Fall; La Copa del Mondo; Nobody But You; Hearing Triangles; Missing You; Scream; La Vita (never to be forgotten).

Personnel: Gian Tornatore: tenor and soprano saxophones; Nate Radley: guitar; Jon Anderson: piano; Thomson Kneeland: bass; Jordan Perlson: drums.

Title: Fall | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sound Spiral

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