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Norberto Tamburrino: Reflection(s) On Monk

Bruce Lindsay By

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Reflection(s) On Monk took over four years to record: five tracks were recorded in Italy between August, 2004 and March, 2008 and four in New York in November, 2008. The result is a well-crafted album, featuring some excellent playing from pianist Norberto Tamburrino and the other musicians.

The opening "The Room of Illumination" works its way through a series of musical styles, each clearly differentiated from the other by drummer Bruce Cox's changing patterns. The introductory slow section, featuring some tight interplay between Tamburrino and tenor saxophonist JD Allen, moves to a short and slightly faster section characterized by Cox's dance-influenced drum part, and then on again to a funk-style part before returning to the slower mood of the introduction. "New Years of the Soul" is a solo piano piece with Tamburrino's left hand stride-like patterns to the fore, while "Good Times of Lucy," a trio piece, finds Tamburrino displaying a more Latin-influenced approach. The cover of Jerome Kern's "All The Things You Are" is the oldest track on the album: recorded in August, 2004, the sound lacks the clarity of the other tracks, and it comes to an extremely sudden end, but still displays some fine playing from bassist Joseph Lepore.

Tamburrino also adds electronic effects to some of the tracks, most notably on the funk section of "The Room of Illumination." In contrast to his piano work, the effects are somewhat intrusive and unsympathetic, detracting from the effectiveness of the acoustic instruments.

The CD's title notes that this is a set of "Reflections" on Thelonious Monk rather than simply a slavish re-working of his piano style. Indeed, Tamburrino is too talented a pianist to simply copy another's style. The spirit of Monk may well pervade this album, but there are few obvious "Monk-ish" passages, except for Monk's "Crepuscule with Nellie" and the opening bars of "Out of a Blue Reflection." Instead, it is the flexibility and adaptability of the musicians that is particularly noticeable as they prove themselves more than capable of playing in a variety of styles with skill and emotional involvement.

Track Listing: The Room of Illumination; Out of a Blue Reflection; The Latin Way of Freedom; New Years of Soul; Hearts in Expansion; Good Times of Lucy—Song For My Baby; Crepuscule with Nellie; Situazione Tipica Autunnale; All The Things You Are.

Personnel: Norberto Tamburrino: piano, keyboards, effects; J.D. Allen: tenor saxophone; Joseph Lepore: bass; Bruce Cox: drums; Francesco Mariella: bass (5).

Title: Reflection(s) On Monk | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Philology Jazz Records

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