Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

3

Mike Melito: New York Connections

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Every town has its homegrown talent worthy of wider recognition. This is definitely true when it comes to Rochester native Mike Melito. Since the age of 16, the drummer has held down the drum chair for countless combos and national acts in and around upstate New York. That he has the chops and know-how to make it in New York City is obvious, but Melito has opted to stay around his home environs and has no problem maintaining a thriving playing and teaching schedule.

Over the years, the drummer has produced his own sessions as a leader that have yielded five previous albums. The latest is yet another accomplished collection that features the type of mainstream fare that he finds an inspiration. Names such as Billy Higgins, Philly Joe Jones, and Art Taylor are part and parcel of Melito's muse and the fact that he can speak in this vernacular while still making an album that is fresh and vital to today is a testament to the many insights gained from such masters.

Pianist Jeb Patton and bassist Neal Miner join forces with Melito to make for an exciting core rhythm team. That Patton is not better known is somewhat curious. He plays with a focused intent and channels the spirit of Sonny Clark on "Five Will Get You Ten," while sporting the vim and vigor of McCoy Tyner on "Up Over and Out." Peter Bernstein is the ringer here however, sprightly strutting his stuff throughout his own original "Jet Stream" and swinging with a vengeance on "Wives and Lovers" to name just a few highlights.

Best known for his work with Harry Connick, Jr., tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon sounds right at home with a sound that is a great hybrid of bebop sensibilities and swing panache. His breathy approach is perfect on a lively bossa rendition of "Indian Summer." He's versatile enough to voice the lead with Bernstein on "The Knife" while also speaking the hard bop language of Hank Mobley's "Up Over and Out." His richly-hued statements on such ballads as "Theme for Ernie" and "I Wished I Knew" are standouts, breathy vibrato and all.

Melito himself favors the wide open sound of the drums with no fancy gimmicks or muffling. His toms ring and are tuned on the high side, not unlike those of fellow contemporary Kenny Washington. His ride cymbals have that dark and crashy sound with less emphasis on stick attack and more on textural colors. He takes some very musical solos, integrating the entire set organically and in a way that complements the whole. That last statement could sum up Melito's approach to the entire set. This doesn't sound like a drummer's record and that's quite a compliment.

Track Listing: Jet Stream; Theme For Ernie; Wives and Lovers; Five Will Get You Ten; Up Over and Out; I Wished I Knew; If Ever I Would Leave You; Indian Summer; Bolivia; The Knife; Blues Okura.

Personnel: Mike Melito: drums; Jerry Weldon: tenor sax; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Jeb Patton: piano; Neal Miner: bass.

Title: New York Connections | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Weebop

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Manhattan EP" CD/LP/Track Review Manhattan EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for Tomorrow)" CD/LP/Track Review Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for...
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Originals For the Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Originals For the Originals
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 20, 2017