Joe Chindamo: Smokingun / Duende: The Romantic Project

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Graeme Lyall/Joe Chindamo
New Market Music

Joe Chindamo
Duende: The Romantic Project

Though in the States pianist Joe Chindamo is basically an unknown, Down Under he is showered with accolades and awards. With a career dating back to the ‘70s, Chindamo has amassed impressive associations: Billy Cobham, Larry Coryell, Ernie Watts, Ray Brown and Breckers Michael and Randy, as well as Aussie trumpeter James Morrison and saxophonists Paul Williamson and Don Burrows.

Add to that list countryman Graeme Lyall, a veteran alto and soprano saxophonist. Associated since the ‘80s, their Smokingun reveals a deep mutual and musical respect — Dvorák's "Going Home" and Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" are both introspective duos for quick proof. Lyall's sweet tone on alto is unmistakably reminiscent of Paul Desmond's lyrical charm combined with comfortable stylistic nods to Lee Konitz' also cool but more experimental proclivities; Desmond is also relevant for his association with Dave Brubeck, a stylistic model for this quartet. On Desmond's timeless "Take Five", however, Chindamo wisely not only rearranges the tune but alters the instrumentation — one of the more unique versions with the leader on accordion, his original instrument before switching to piano as a teenager. Phil Rex (bass) and David Beck (drums) create a continuously morphing bed of tempo changes on "Take Five" as well as on the two Mingus-associated numbers: "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (featuring an impressive extended solo bass intro) and Joni Mitchell's "God Must Be A Boogie Man" (spurring tension and release by alternating the sweet-turned-funky melody with sections of near atonality).

For Duende: The Romantic Project, Chindamo chooses a different avenue of expression, again with a quartet but this time of strings: guitar (Doug DeVries), violin (Nigel Maclean) and bass (Sam Anning). Recorded live, but initially unintended for release, at the acoustically exquisite BMW The Edge Theater at this year's Melbourne Jazz Festival, the 11 tunes (six composed by Chindamo) mix an undeniable jazz undertone with more cinematic selections (Chindamo's music has appeared in over 60 films). Touches of Chick Corea and Bill Evans sprout up, as well as a liberal use of other influences; Bach, folk music from the pianist's Italian ancestors and even Irish music don't compromise the sedate introspection of this concept album.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue 9:44); The Magnificent Seven; Look for the Silver Lining; Where is Love; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; Going Home (from New World Symphony; God Must Be A Boogie Man; Goldfinger; Take Five; The Entertainer.

Personnel: Joe Chindamo: piano, accordion; Graeme Lyall: alto and soprano sax; Phil Rex: bass; Dave Beck: drums.

Duende: The Romantic Project

Tracks: Another Story; Moments and Eternities; The Bermuda Tango; E Lucevan le Stelle; Something Will Come To Light; Elegy for Rita/Astoria; Besame Mucho; Saying Goodbye; Una Furtiva Lagrima; Tarantism; Corcovado.

Personnel: Joe Chindamo: piano; Doug DeVries: guitar; Nigel Maclean: violin; Sam Anning: bass.

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