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World on a String
The tale of two pied pipers is told on two new CDs: one by Dave Valentin and the other by Gerald Beckett.
Starting with the spirited original "Meet You At The Coda , Valentin plays through a set of originals, written by either Valentin, Ronnie Cuber or Bill O'Connell and two standards. Joining Valentin are O'Donnell (piano), Cuber (baritone on one track), Ruben Rodriguez or Lincoln Goines (bass), Robby Ameen (drums) and Milton Cardona, Richie Flores and Nicky Marrero (percussion).
Most of the songs are done in the eminently danceable mambo or montuno tempo. The standard "I Remember You is done as a bolero featuring some lovely piano work by O'Connell. Cuber and Valentin trade solos on the bluesy "Passion Fruit resulting in a swinging cut. Notable also is "Bronx Serenade , a tribute to the borough that has nurtured so many Afro-Cuban musicians, and "For The King Mr. Puente , featuring dynamic drumming by timbalero Marrero.
Gerald Beckett presents another face of the flute on FluteVibes, an offering of rarely heard jazz standards and one original. He uses a complement of musicians which includes Graham Bruce (flugelhorn), Stee Heckman (tenor sax), Max Perkoff (trombone), Damien Masterson (harmonica), Khahil Doak-Anthony (electric guitar), Dave Bell (acoustic guitar), Erik von Buchau (vibes), David Udolf (piano), Aaron Germain (bass), Niels Myrner (drums) and Antonio Davidson-Gomez (percussion).
Beckett exhibits his virtuosity and ability to reach his audience emotionally through different feelings on each track. This is accomplished by shifts in tempo, instrumentation and Beckett's work on flute, alto and bass flute and piccolo. There are tracks where he swings along with the flugelhorn or vibes or harmonica and tracks where he doubles on the flute (as in Mal Waldron's "Blues Gene , a honky tonk blues in its purest form). There are up-tempo songs, Afro/Latin numbers, a bop-inspired track and ballads. Of the many notable tunes, the one that stands out is Beckett's beautiful reading of Don Sebesky's ballad "I Remember Bill .
Tracks and Personnel
World on a String
Tracks: Meet You at the Coda; Passion Fruit; I've Got the World on a String; I Remember You; Bronx Serenade; I'll See You in a Second; Samba Timba; For the King Tito Puente; Drop a Dime; Zig Zag.
Personnel: Bill O'Connell: piano; Ronnie Cuber: baritone sax; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Robby Ameen: drums; Lincoln Goines: bass; Milton Cardona, Nicky Marrero, Richie Flores: percussion.
Tracks: The Soothsayer; Fami-Lee; Bimbe Blue; Broken Wings; Pamela's Passion; Blue Gene; FluteVibes; Coral Keys; I Remember Bill; Two's Blues.
Personnel: Gerald Beckett: flute; Graham Bruce: flugelhorn; Stee Heckman: tenor sax; Max Perkoff: trombone; Damien Masterson: harmonica; Khahil Doak-Anthony: electric guitar; Dave Bell: acoustic guitar; Erik von Buchau: vibes; David Udolf: piano; Aaron Germain: bass; Niels Myrner: drums; Antonio Davidson-Gomez: percussion.