243

Peppe Merolla: Stick with Me

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Peppe Merolla: Stick with Me Peppe Merolla may not be a familiar name to most jazz audiences but a sampling of Stick with Me, his stellar debut as a leader, may well serve to change that fact. Born in Italy and hailing from an artistic family of actors and singers, Giuseppe "Peppe" Merolla followed in the family tradition doing a little acting and singing before pursuing his love for the drums and jazz. On this striking first outing, Merolla offers a decidedly hard bop-styled jazz set, approaching the music in an assertive manner evidenced by strong stick and rim shots and crowned by crisp cymbal work throughout the nine-piece repertoire of primarily original material.

Merolla moved to the U.S. because he wanted to live where jazz was born. Now residing in the New York area, the drummer—who states "I want to play this music with the best players in the world"—makes good on this goal by surrounding himself with some of the Big Apple's finest musicians.

The program begins with the drummer's tribute to his native "Naples," a dicey percussive Afro-Cuban number that ends up in straight jazz territory. Tenor saxophonist John Farnsworth tees off on the following "Ferris Wheel," peppered with voices from the other horns—trombonist extraordinaire Steve Turre and trumpeter Jim Rotondi—along with assertive bass lines and Merolla's rumbling climax. The bop sounds soften up a bit on the gentle "Junior," as Turré starts off the solos, followed by another Farnsworth mix, Mike LeDonne on electric piano and bassist Lee Smith's graceful bow. The other mellow number here is the Rotondi-arranged Willie Nelson ballad, "Crazy," led by warm tenor phrasings, Rotondi's muted horn work and sensitive play from the rest of the band.

The bop-ish original "A Cry For Understanding" is the album's centerpiece—featuring brisk work from the horns, while Merolla punctuates the number with his powerful stick work and crashing cymbals. But the highlight of this hard-bop set is the sizzling "Mozzin,'" on fire from the introduction, and smoking all the way through to the end, capturing several of Merolla's muscular solos.

Clearly an album of exceptional quality and an impressive debut,Stick with Me showcases a powerful performance from Merolla and marks an unforgettable entrance into the world of recorded music sure to stick with those that appreciate the perky nature of hard-bop jazz.


Track Listing: Naples; Ferris Wheel; Junior; Marbella; A Cry For Understanding; Crazy; Mozzin'; Princess of the Mountain; One For Bud.

Personnel: Peppe Merolla: drums; Steve Turré: trombone, shells; Jim Rotondi; John Farnsworth: tenor saxophone; Mike LeDonne: piano; Lee Smith: bass.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
New York Beat
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Art Blakey Art Blakey
drums
Alphonse Mouzon Alphonse Mouzon
multi-instrumentalist
Rez Abbasi Rez Abbasi
guitar
Jason Miles Jason Miles
keyboard
George Colligan George Colligan
keyboard
Marcus Strickland Marcus Strickland
saxophone
Tessa Souter Tessa Souter
vocalist
Jay Anderson Jay Anderson
bass, acoustic
Virginia Mayhew Virginia Mayhew
sax, tenor
Kat Parra Kat Parra
vocalist

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
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 "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "Roots & Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Roots & Transitions
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "The Ludwigsburg Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Ludwigsburg Concert
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Twin Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Twin Talk
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 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!