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Bob Gullotti, Leo Genovese and Dave Zinno really know how to end their pieces. This may seem incidental or, in any case, not a heavy matter. But it is, especially when you contrast it to the way many jazz musicians end their pieces, if they do at all. Too often, pieces are ended rather than left to proceed to an end and the abruptalmost violently abruptnature of this kind of imposition harms the overall piece. The threesome's collaboration on Planet Safety demonstrates that they can create music that is earthy and strong, made that much stronger by perfectly orchestrated endings that are not mere conclusions, but finales.
Tracks like "Alone Together" serve as tolerable buffer zones between more remarkable tracks; the effect is distracting and the album would be better without them. But the solid tracks are enjoyable and pleasurable to listen to in their entirety and their finales round off the pieces.
The musicianship is immaculate on all ends and the notable pieces hold up the album with dignity and strength. The bass line on the title track, combined with the teasingly saccharine piano notes, creates a bluesy, rocky vibe with an almost lyrical effect. Tracks seven through nine on this album are collectively described as a "Three Cycle Laundry Machine" and each piece is named after the "Agitate," "Rinse" and "Spin" cycles, respectively. If that sounds gimmicky, it is. But it works because each sounds precisely like each of the verbs for which it is named; the domesticity of the actual chore is quickly forgotten in lieu of an encapsulation of more universal things like speed, power and the quiet pauses that make them all the more notable.
"Pinocchio" is an elegant composition whose notes flow into and onto each other without any rough edges. The piece begins to show a few unraveled strings nearing the end of the track and as soon as you begin to suspect of sloppiness, you see that what hinted of sloppiness is in fact an exciting potpourri of sonic goodness that ends majestically.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.