Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
404

Jim Rotondi: New Vistas

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Rotondi: New Vistas Aptly titled to be sure, Jim Rotondi's New Vistas offers somewhat of a new direction for this hard bop trumpeter, who finds himself mixing it up with a cast of new friends. Although he had included a few cuts with Larry Goldings on B3 for his debut Criss Cross release, this session also marks the first time that Rotondi has opted for an organ combo approach that goes beyond the norm with a little extra help from Chris Potter. In fact, many of the saxophonist's statements could arguably be considered some his best recorded work to date, and Rotondi is no less commanding as the leader of this crack team.

Three of the eight cuts here are from Rotondi's pen, with "Stranger than Fiction" being a familiar chart cut previously by the group One For All. The lead off track, "Blues Nouveau," sets a healthy pace with Bill Stewart's drum pulse responsive to each soloist's every move. An updated boogaloo line with a sagacious tag, "John Force" finds the pots on for a healthy simmer, and even within this familiar framework Rotondi and Potter avoid the clichés with solo spots that each tell a story. Of course, this type of groove also provides the perfect setting for Peter Bernstein's single note runs and Sam Yahel's beefy chordal backing.

As a balance to the more fiery numbers, Rotondi weighs in with rewarding updates of Buster Williams' "Firewater" and Duke Pearson's "My Love Waits," the former benefiting from Yahel's light touch and melodic approach and the latter providing a spotlight for Rotondi's poetic brilliance. It's worth mentioning here as well that our leading man wisely chooses to vary the solo format on each number to avoid monotony and a jam session mentality, something even more important in an ensemble that boasts several lead instrumentalists.

The most forward-thinking cut here is Chris Potter's "Assisi," which proves that the saxophonist's writing is as adventurous as his playing. Not merely a loose structure to blow over, Potter's line builds momentum as it progresses, its tag used as an interlude between solos. By contrast, from Bernstein's pen we get "Autumn Chill," a lively waltz tempo with a sunny disposition and chock full of the guitarist's lyrical gifts.

With New Vistas , Jim Rotondi has found yet another side of his personality to share, and it's clear that there was a sense of mutual inspiration from everyone on board. Although often intangible and hard to put into words, this is the kind of record that just clicks from the get-go and keeps yielding new rewards with subsequent spins. I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up on a few "end of the year" lists. I know it's one of the best records I've heard this year.


Track Listing: Blues Noveau, John Force, Firewater, My Love Waits, Autumn Chill, Isn't It a Pity, Assisi, Stranger Than Fiction

Personnel: Jim Rotondi (trumpet and flugelhorn), Chris Potter (tenor sax and flute), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Sam Yahel (organ), Bill Stewart (drums)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Criss Cross | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Dark Blue
Dark Blue
Smoke Sessions
2016
buy
1000 Rainbows
1000 Rainbows
Posi-Tone Records
2010
buy
Iron Man
Iron Man
Criss Cross
2006
buy
The Pleasure Dome
The Pleasure Dome
Sharp Nine Records
2004
buy
New Vistas
New Vistas
Criss Cross
2004
buy
Destination Up
Destination Up
Sharp Nine Records
2001
buy
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Lee Konitz Lee Konitz
sax, alto
Marcus Printup Marcus Printup
trumpet
Ron Carter Ron Carter
bass
McCoy Tyner McCoy Tyner
piano
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
sax, tenor
Hank Mobley Hank Mobley
sax, tenor
Jeremy Pelt Jeremy Pelt
trumpet
Kenny Barron Kenny Barron
piano
Mark Turner Mark Turner
sax, tenor

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus
Support our sponsor

Sponsor: Motéma Music | BUY IT  

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.