148

Steve LaSpina: Play Room

By

Sign in to view read count
Steve LaSpina: Play Room Juggling a whirlwind schedule as a musician, father and student means that bassist Steve LaSpina is always in constant motion. Play Room is a selection of original compositions that comment on the recent state of affairs in his life. The music is lively, contemplative, playful and always involving.

The title cut serves as the album's mission statement, placing avant-garde sensibilities within a bop framework. Dave Ballou and Billy Drewes banter mischievously on trumpet and soprano sax, and Gary Versace barks on the Hammond B-3. The shifting time signatures contribute to the overall feeling of spontaneity.

"Do The Math is a more conventional mid-tempo tune, with LaSpina's pizzicato and Versace's excellent piano complementing each other. The three-part suite ("It's Just Crazy -"It Never Ends -"That Explains It ) begins slowly, with LaSpina's dolorous plucking and measured playing by Drewes and Ballou. The suite gathers steam, then opens the valves to the most straight-ahead playing on the album, highlighted by Drewes' gritty tenor sax.

The album pauses for breath with "Melissa, a heartfelt duet by LaSpina and Versace, dominated by LaSpina's robust pizzicato. Then it's back on the treadmill with "On The Run, where Drewes' fluttering soprano works with Ballou's Harmon-muted trumpet. "Ashcroft Avenue continues the dynamism between Drewes and Ballou (on flugelhorn here), with some splendid piano from Versace. LaSpina's arco on "Just Because sounds like a man explaining why he's down on his luck, with Versace's initially nuanced and eventually spiraling organ serving as a sympathetic audience. And that's the trademark of Play Room: throughout the album the musicians don't seem to be playing their instruments as much as having a series of organized, spirited conversations.


Track Listing: Play Room; Do the Math; Suite: it's Just Crazy--it Never Ends--That Explains It; Melissa; On the Run; Ashcroft Avenue; Just Because.

Personnel: Steve LaSpina: bass; Dave Ballou: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Billy Drewes: saxophone; Gary Versace: Hammond B-3 organ, piano; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Surrounded by the Night" CD/LP/Track Review Surrounded by the Night
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Timeless Again" CD/LP/Track Review Timeless Again
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!