The mass appeal of a jazz recording does not necessarily compromise its value or its artistic integrity; it simply means that the artist has mastered the difficult task of balancing the creative and the commercial. Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci has done just that on his debut album, Lovers, Tales & Dances.
Farinacci sounds a lot like Clifford Brown, with the same lyricism albeit without the same range, mastery and fluidity. Some of the material also hints at Brown's recordings with strings and female vocalists. The tracks with string arrangement are a tad on the smooth side, but Farinacci's trumpet rescues them from becoming mundane through his brilliant improvisations. The vocal number is reminiscent of Helen Merrill with Clifford Brown (Emarcy, 19554), but singer Hilary Kole lacks Helen Merrill's emotional intensity. The leader elevates this track once againif not to the CD's high point then to a level where it does not sound out of place, despite adding little to the whole.
The choice of material again reflects the balance between artistic creativity and popular appeal. Songs vary from Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" and Astor Piazzolla's "Libertango," to the Billie Holiday standard, "Don't Explain," and Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman," which represents the real high point of this record.
The sidemen include Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron and Lewis Nash, but despite being in the company of masters, Farinacci not only maintains his own but remains the dominant voice throughout, successfully interacting with these seasoned veterans during the ensemble work.
Despite the faults of a few, too-smooth string arrangements, an average vocal number and the debutant style of the leader, this impeccably mastered recording is a very promising first work by an artist who, if he maintains the momentum demonstrated here, may well become one the pillars of jazz in the near future.
Don't Explain; Libertango; Estate; Vision; Ne Me Quitte Pas; E Lucevan Le Stelle; Erghen Diado (Song Of Shopsko); Silent Cry; Love Dance; Bibo No Aozora; Lonely Woman; The Theme From The Pawnbroker.
Dominick Farinacci: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Kenny Barron: piano; James Genus: bass; Marc Johnson: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Jamey Haddad: percussion; Hilary Kole: vocals; Guilherme Monteiro: guitar; Rich DeRosa: strings and horns conductor.
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