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Frank Catalano: Mighty Burner

Jim Santella By

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Recorded live at Chicago's Green Mill and Edgewater Lounge, Mighty Burner pays homage to organist Charles Earland, with whom saxophonist Frank Catalano worked from 1995-99. Earland, who died of a heart attack at age 58 on December 11, 1999, mentored younger jazz artists during his final years. Catalano, 27, was one of those younger artists who learned his lessons well. With a piano trio in support, he blows all night long through both of these sessions. The energy! No wonder he's been compared to John Coltrane.

Catalano doesn't believe in holding back. The sessions are all his. His tenor flies up and down through its range, allowing the artist to unleash contagious emotions in every direction. Several selections stretch out for more than ten minutes; Catalano fires it up constantly. Except for a few brief piano interludes on "Mighty Burner, a bass solo on "Love Bugaloo and conversational fours with the drummer on "Burner's Blues, Catalano works from the solo mic throughout both sessions. The audience loved it.

God's Love for Music brings a soulful quality to the album that can't be beat. The final track, a made-for-radio mix that was made in the studio, departs from the album's concept formula. Here we find Catalano oozing with nonstop smooth jazz to the accompaniment of backbeats and electric bass. The studio mix, while as mesmerizing as the rest of the album, fails to provide the natural energy that the musician gave his live audiences. In person or on CD, Frank Catalano has one powerful tenor saxophone voice that can excite any audience.


Track Listing: Mighty Burner; Love Bugaloo; Tuna Town; Burner

Personnel: Frank Catalano: tenor saxophone; Vijay Tellis-Nayak: piano; Matt Thompson: bass; Robert Gay: drums; Greg Spero: keyboards (5); Shawn Sommer: bass (6).

Title: Mighty Burner | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Bright

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