These two recent Naxos Jazz releases represent a study in contrasts. Katewalk
is a tight, funky, driven affair while Freedance
is, well, a Freedance! Del Gatto, a veteran of the Saturday Night Live band, takes a straight-ahead approach to his jazz. He employs Randy Brecker, Victor Lewis, and SNL band mate Steve Turre in his refined mix of chittlin' circuit blues and sophisticated standards. David Phillips, on the other hand, sports Tony Moreno and out-there guitarist Rez Abbasi on his ethereal jazz journey. Both are effective, and blasting out or opposite directions.
Make It Funky. Katewalk is a funky collection of standards and originals that are inherently toe-tapping. The bluesly convolution of the title cut sets a sturdy tone for the rest of the disc. “Caravan”, “You don’t Know what Love Is”, and “My One and Only Love” hold up well under Del Gatto’s funnky attitude (even in the ballads) Randy Brecker and Steve Turre smoke whenever they pass wind through their respective instruments. The super treats of this record are the greasy organ-tenor combos (“Katewalk”, “Long Divorce Blues”, and “Ain’t too Hip”). This is well thought out music.
Kind Of Bluelike. Freedance touts itself as a leaderless, fully collaborative ensemble that achieves its musical goal of complete composition by first meeting a song sketch and brining it to its fully realization through rehearsal. In this way, these pieces, though first conceived by an individual, in their recorded end actually become the equal product of the entire band. Even the two standards ("You and the Night and the Music" and Ina Sentimental Mood") are so powerfully reinvented that they undeniably reflect Freedance. The music is light and completely improvised.
Naxos Jazz continues to assemble and release interesting and provocative music. This is none better illustrated than by these two disparate releases. As the Naxos catalog grows, so does the absolute wealth of talent that might not otherwise have seen the light of day. My Kudos to the label.
Track Listing ( Katewalk ):Katewalk; Caravan; Autumn Nocturne; Ain't Too Hip; I Thought About You; Barbados Delight; Long Divorce Blues; And Friends; You Don't Know what Love Is; My One and Only One. (Total Time: 67:23)
Personnel( Katewalk ):Lew Del Gatto: Tenor Saxophone; Randy Brecker: Trumpet & Flugelhorn; Joe Cohn: Guitar; Ron Feuer: Organ, Piano; Chip Jackson: Bass; Victor Lewis: Drums; Steve Turre: Trombone.
Track Listing ( Freedance ):Eastern Peace; You And The Night And The Music; Scramble From The Whitehouse; Pops And Poppies; New Esthetic; Soul Food; Rezolution; Paper Spoons; Valerina; Creating Destiny; Spiritual; In A Sentimental Mood. (Total Time: 64:18)
Personnel( Freedance ):Dave Phillips: Bass; Rez Abbasi: Guitars; John O'Gallagher: Saxophones; Tony Moreno: Drums.