242

Mike DiRubbo: Human Spirit

Russ Musto By

Sign in to view read count
Mike DiRubbo: Human Spirit
Alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo's most recent outing for Criss Cross features the Jackie McLean protege in the fast company of trumpeter Jim Rotondi, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth (two thirds of the sextet One For All) in a set that showcases his growing talent and expansive command of the jazz idiom.

Like his mentor, DiRubbo is no run-of-the-mill neo-bopper. He has his own unique sound on the saxophone, which while clearly primarily McLean-influenced, also exhibits an almost equally strong semblance to Pharoah Sanders' in its timbre. Similarly, his expansive musical vocabulary exhibits a solid foundation in the bebop tradition that has been judiciously elevated through a liberal addition of post-Coltrane modality.

The date starts off typically enough with a hard bopping original from DiRubbo called 'Transfer' that successfully conjures the composer's intended imagery of having to change trains in a busy subway station while rushing to a gig. It's followed by a relaxed rendition of Hazeltine's already classic arrangement of Mancini's 'Moon River,' in a moving performance that predates the pianist's fine Manhattan Autumn version by nearly six months. 'Human Spirit' is an appealing folkish melody by the leader that clearly displays his affection for Sander's sound and style while exhibiting his own skill as a composer outside of the more traditional jazz arena. 'Minor March,' by Jackie McLean, is DiRubbo's first recording of one of his mentor's compositions, and this blistering version is a truly fitting tribute to both its composer's success as teacher and his student's skill as a player.

The beautiful ballad 'North Shore Reflections,' another composition by the leader, displays an introspective character that contrasts convincingly with the uninhibited exuberance of the date's brisker offerings. DiRubbo's encyclopedic knowledge of the classic jazz repertory, reinforced through years of service at the Jazz Record Center, is shown in his inclusion of Hank Mobley's rarely heard 'Bossa For Baby,' one of the tenorist's prettiest tunes, while his lyrical 'Throwback' shows him to be a capable contributor to the genre's future himself. The disc's closer, Rotondi's up-tempo 'Down,' is another hard bop burner that gives everyone a chance to show off at what they do best'breathe fresh life into the idiom that is very much alive and well.

Track Listing

1. Transfer; 2. Moon River; 3. Human Spirit; 4. Minor March; 5. North Shore Reflections; 6. Bossa For Baby; 7. Throwback; 8. Down.

Personnel

Mike DiRubbo--alto sax; Jim Rotondi--trumpet, flugelhorn; David Hazeltine--piano; Peter Washington--bass; Joe Farnsworth--drums.

Album information

Title: Human Spirit | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Criss Cross

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

This Song Is New
Lorne Lofsky
Blue Lotus
The New Muse 4Tet
Garden Of Jewels
Ivo Perelman Trio
Virtual Birdland
Arturo O'Farrill

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.