253

Jim Rotondi at The Turning Point Cafe

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Rotondi
The Turning Point Café
Piermont, NY
April 11, 2010

When the words "Bye, Bye" sounded from outside The Turning Point Cafe in the middle of Jim Rotondi's "Angel Eyes" cadenza, he didn't hesitate to imitate the singsong tone of the woman's voice. A journeyman whose credits include the Ray Charles Band, the collective One for All, as well as several discs as a leader on the Posi-Tone, Criss Cross and Sharp Nine labels, the trumpeter knows a thing or two about embracing spontaneity and making the most of the materials at hand. Working from a set list assembled just a few minutes before they hit, a crackerjack band convened by TPC jazz series curator John Richmond provided ample support and stimulation for Rotondi throughout the hour long performance.

In addition to non-stop propulsion, Rotondi's style contains craftsmanship that is easy to overlook in the heat of the moment. There's virtually no hesitation and few wasted notes in his playing. During a burning "Speak Low," and a medium tempo waltz treatment of "Cry Me A River" (from the recent Blues For Brother Ray disc on Posi-Tone) he varied phrase lengths, dynamics, and velocity in ways that favored coherence over dramatic effect. Rotondi's flugelhorn turn on "The Girl From Ipanema" offered acute contrasts as he shifted from long agitated lines, to soft, burnished flourishes, to a series of brief, shrieking runs.

Tenor saxophonist Richmond made an estimable front line partner for Rotondi. On "Cry Me A River" he crafted a complete statement from short, effusive declarations, brief hints of the tune's melody, and cautious, broad-toned passages. The opening notes to "The Girl From Ipanema" sounded like simple patterns of speech, and he eventually integrated soft gauzy tones and long hard blasts.

Knowing when to assert themselves and when to lay back, a rhythm section comprised of pianist Steve Ash, bassist Chris Haney, and drummer Steve Williams kept things humming. Ash's chords behind Richmond made a distinct impression during "The Girl From Ipanema." Later on it sounded perfectly natural for him to drop out for long stretches of Rotondi's improv.

Haney and Williams made a wickedly fast tempo on "Just In Time" seem like child's play. Alone and in eight bar exchanges with the band, the drummer brought the set to a rousing climax. He executed dazzling sticking and footwork, made abrupt changes in dynamics, and readily moved in different directions while maintaining a semblance of continuity.


Shop

More Articles

Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read Tallinn Music Week 2017 Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 16, 2017
Read Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "London Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews London Jazz Festival 2016
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Jazzkaar 2016" Live Reviews Jazzkaar 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Benny Golson Quartet at Duc des Lombards" Live Reviews Benny Golson Quartet at Duc des Lombards
by Patricia Myers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2016
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: July 8, 2016
Read "The Power Quintet at Jazz Standard" Live Reviews The Power Quintet at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!