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Joey DeFrancesco / Robi Botos / Vito Rezza / Phil Dwyer: One Take: Volume Four

Ernest Barteldes By

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On the fourth volume Alma Records' One Take series, everything heard on disc, as stated on the back cover, was was recorded during a single take with "no rehearsals, no overdubs, no edits—just raw, untouched and inspired performances."

It is immediately clear that these sessions were quite informal. "How do you want to start this?" a voice asks, shortly before a ten-minute long rendition of "There is No Greater Love" where organist Joey DeFrancesco immediately takes the lead with his smart licks and fluid improvisational style. He is followed by tenor saxophonist Phil Dwyer and pianist Robi Botos, who both put their personal stamp on the tune as drummer Vito Rezza keeps a steady beat. The quartet follows that with a gentle take on "Tenderly" that mostly features Dwyer's mellow tones. Things pick up with an up-tempo version of "Village Green" that has lots of improvisation, including a burning solo from Rezza.

The single original piece on this six-track CD is DeFrancesco's "Not That," a simple, twelve-bar blues where the organist begins alone for a few bars, then joined by the remaining musicians. It is clearly an opportunity to lay back and be playful, as the tune's simple structure allows for plenty of freedom without much risk —especially when the goal is to capture everything in a single take. The author pretty much dominates the scene with extended solos, call-and-response with Dwyer, and a great overall groove.

Also notable is "Broadway," the final track of this intriguing experiment. Played at a very fast tempo, the tune begins with Rezza, and DeFrancesco's bass line, followed followed by Botos and Dwyer, who both contribute twisting solos.

The liner notes do not mention how often (or how long) these four musicians have worked together, but their chemistry is evident. The fact that these sessions were unrehearsed doesn't allow for greater exploration, but the musicians compensate with great creativity and energy, making this one of the most thrilling jazz releases of 2010.

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