You can feel the training Mike Longo received from Oscar Peterson when he stretches out liberally on “Fiesta Mojo.” The swing he inherited from Cannonball Adderley and the spontaneity that stems from his long association with Dizzy Gillespie also show up on this live recording from last year’s Detroit Jazz Festival. Bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Ray Mosca find the setting ideal as well for turning loose their improvisational ties. At one hour and 15 minutes, this festival set allows plenty of room for Longo’s talented acoustic trio to navigate. Unlike some “live” recordings, this one has captured the trio’s sound quite well.
Straight-ahead and pumped up, Longo offers an eclectic program from the mainstream. His extended medley on “Porgy and Bess” captures the passion that comes with its telling story. The pianist builds cascades that climb and drift lazily past memorable landscapes. Many South Carolina seashore communities lost that informal feeling long ago, but Gershwin’s music never fades. Shifts in the trio’s mood take the audience through several key chapters of the classic opera. Longo brings back all the swing that was embodied by those fascinating characters.
The trio’s interpretation of Wayne Shorter, Monk, Diz and Trane infuses straight-ahead jazz with a healthy spirit. As evidenced by their live festival session, no classic piece is ever played the same way twice. When they close the performance with a rousing “Night in Tunisia,” Longo, Debriano and Mosca stir the senses as few others can manage to convey convincingly. Recommended, their trio outing adds plenty of fuel to the fires that still burn for the memory of the fathers of modern jazz.
Track Listing: My Funny Valentine; Trane
Personnel: Mike Longo- piano; Santi Debriano- bass; Ray Mosca- drums.