Pete Zimmer pays homage to the music and innovators of the hard bop era on Judgment, an inspired and sometimes exceptional collection of mostly original tunes played by a wonderful group of musicians who clearly share the drummer's admiration of the standards.
"The Mingus That I Knew, written by guest George Garzone, captures the bassist's essence in the arrangement, complete with accelerating tempos and robust colors. The front line of tenorists Garzone and Joel Frahm and trumpeter Michael Rodriguez flawlessly summons the energy and timbre of a big band. Zimmer's "Down or Up is an up-tempo, stylish gem with a smooth arrangement and rock-solid playing by Frahm, Rodriguez and pianist Toru Dodo.
Perhaps "8 A.M. Wednesday Spirit suggests Mingus' "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, but this sax/drums duet between Garzone and Zimmer tears a page from the Interstellar Space playbook as well. The title cut gives Dodo and the two sax players a chance to display fire and lyricism during their solos and quick-witted dialogue.
Rodriguez's solo on the bop strut "Dot Dot pushes the envelope toward bassist David Wong, who contributes a crisp plucked solo. The full-bodied bossa nova of "Tutti Italiani is good, but of all the songs on Judgment, the Zimmer/Dodo collaboration "Cut Off might be the definitive onebecause it both looks ahead to the future and to back the past by applying a challenging chord structure to a classic hard bop context.
Track Listing: The Mingus That I Knew; Down or Up; To My Papa; 8 A.M. Wednesday Spirit; Judgment; Dot Dot; Bye Bye Blackbird; Tutti Italiani; Cut Off.
Personnel: George Garzone: tenor saxophone; Michael Rodriguez: trumpet; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Toru Dodo: piano; John Sullivan: bass; David Wong: bass;
Pete Zimmer: drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.