Gene DiNovi: Souvenir: Gene DiNovi Plays The Music Of Benny Carter

Mike Neely By

Sign in to view read count
Souvenir is an elegant solo piano recording that pays tribute to one of the great jazz composers of our time, Benny Carter. The pianist, Gene DiNovi, has chosen ten of Carter’s compositions, ranging from the 1930s to the 1990s, and has woven each in a subtle tapestry of long, graceful lines. DiNovi’s left hand is one of the wonders of modern jazz piano, his is low-key, melodic approach that far surpasses traditional accompaniment. At times, DiNovi seems to be weaving two lead voices and a well developed bass line that sings as a third voice. This is subtle, complex piano that gracefully draws from both jazz and classical traditions.

A little background is in order. Benny Carter is renowned not only as a composer but also as a big band leader, alto saxophonist, and trumpeter. His big bands and his arrangements for big bands have been long admired in the jazz world. No history of 20th century big band jazz is complete without a significant section on Carter. In addition, his recordings with Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson are landmarks in the history of small group jazz. His involvement with both big bands and small groups has been consistent through the years, producing a huge body of high quality work in both mediums. It is not an exaggeration to say that as an alto saxophonist his peers have been, and are, few.

Gene DiNovi was a young on- the-scene pianist in New York jazz from the 1940s through the 1960s. The list of who he played with during that period includes the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Boyd Raeburn and Joe Marsala. His recordings with Lester Young and Chuck Wayne, are especially prized by Prez fans. In the 1970s, DiNovi left New York to live in Toronto where he continues to develop and synthesize his extraordinary range of musical styles.

Souvenir presents a pianist who sounds like a modern, more introspective Teddy Wilson. This may seem like an odd statement, but both pianists have absorbed the music of their time at such a deep level that all of the different styles have somehow entwined into a single voice. It’s not an exaggeration to say that on this disc DiNovi has hit that level, which is a level of mastery that few jazz pianists reach. He gracefully explores the traditions of jazz piano in his low-key, after-hours style. There’s no flash or pretense here, there’s no need for it. DiNovi takes the music at a pace that accentuates the harmonic beauty and graceful construction of Carter’s compositions. DiNovi’s version of "When Lights Are Low" and "Blues In My Heart" are highlights of this exquisite recording. In short, Souvenir is a subtle masterpiece of solo jazz piano.

Track Listing: Horizon; Wonderland; Souvenir; When Lights Are Low; There Where The Warm Wind Blows; Only Trust Your Heart; People Time; Superstar; Blues In My Heart; I See You; Conversation. (all compositions by Benny Carter except Conversation which is by Gene DiNovi). (69:10)

Personnel: Gene DiNovi, solo piano.

Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Hep Records | Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Illustrations" CD/LP/Track Review Illustrations
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Agartha" CD/LP/Track Review Agartha
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!