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Don Wilner: Figments of My Imagination

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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The Musical Director of the Van Dyke Café, Miami Beach's leading jazz venue, serves the diminutive jazz audiences of South Florida quality music by accompanying various passing guests, as well asperforming with local ensembles, including his own. Figments of My Imagination, his second release under his name, is Don Wilner's latest. Take heed of this Brazilian enthused jazz recording featuring Eric Alexander and Kenny Drew, Jr.



Antonio Carlos Jobim enthusiasts will be happy to find the rest of the compositions in this generously extended release sheathed by four of the noted Brazilian's works. Said four Jobim bookends of the production enclose material from other expected Brazilian authors—such as Ivan Lins and Djavan—as well as not-so-Brazilian ones—such as Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington. They all become conduits for hearty jazz à la Brazil rather than syrupy melodic fare—a perennial temptation with the richly melodic Carioca repertoire—at the hands of Wilner and Co.



Take singer Rose Max. She invigorates the excellent rearrangements in which she participates—unfortunately the credits do not include information about the arrangements or when Drew performs on piano. Those minor quibbles aside, Max's pipes are up to the vocals tasks. On "O Morro Nao Tem Vez and "Incompatibilidade de Genios she sings with swinging and matronly cojones. In "Oceano, "Começar de Novo, and "A Felicidade she's sultry, sensual, romantic and seductive. Her vocalizations reveal tonal strength, humor, fierceness, self-assurance, and beauty.



Bernstein's "Some Other Time is just to die for. Wilner is simply a superb bassist who is quite adept with "the bowing of love on this one. Although he knowledgeably uses the bow on other cuts, his performance here is very emotive. Sad yet hopeful. Nostalgic yet caressingly tender. The pianist, whether it is Mike Orta or Drew, might have overplayed his part here, albeit since it is just a duo, it could be taken as a movingly fortified foil to Wilner's playing. The rumbling tail end of the coda slays me!



Kick-ass interpretations characterize this CD, requiring various listenings to take in everything everyone did and how they interpreted the material.



Visit Upstairs at the Van Dyke Cafe and Don Wilner on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Mohave (A.C. Jobim) 2. O Morro Nao Tem Vez (A.C. Jobim) 3. Oceano (Djavan) 4. Some Other Time (L. Bernstein) 5. Incompatibilidade de Genios (J. Bosco) 6. On Green Dolphin Street (B. Kaper) 7. In a Sentimental Mood (D. Ellington) 8. You Don

Personnel: Acoustic guitar: Ramatis Moreas. Bass & percussion: Don Wilner. Drums & percussion: Goetz Kujack. Guitar: Bob Devos. Percussion: Sammy Figueroa. Piano: Kenny Drew, Jr. Piano & synthesizer: Mike Orta. Sax: Eric Alexander. Vocals & percussion: Rose Max.

Title: Figments of My Imagination | Year Released: 2005


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