All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

142

Johnnie Valentino: Stingy Brim

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Omnitone strikes again with Stingy Brim, a release that is billed as commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the death of the tuba as the bass line instrument, when it was replaced by the string bass. This album is very cool, hip, funny and just unpredictable enough to keep you glued to your chair, unless, that is, you are dancing to the various rhythms that Mark Ferber lays down.

The music here is not a re-creation of the New Orleans sound or even a modern update of that sound, but rather an evocation of the feel of that music's rhythm given a hard left inside-out turn. It's an interesting comparison with Lucian Ban's very fine tuba-related release, The Tuba Project (CIMP, 2006), which, though also not literal, is much more traditional overall.

A tuba-organ quintet is certainly unorthodox. Randy Jones' tuba is in the middle of things supplementing the bass, but also adding counterpoint while Mick Rossi's very, very deep organ grooves (with left-hand, not foot, bass lines) drive the music, aided by Ferber's outstanding drumming. Bob Shepard's clarinet has a feel of the old-time sound a lot of the time, but his tenor sax doesn't. Finally, Johnny Valentino's quirky guitar lines, usually with the FX of a detuning on a Lexicon H3000, fly over and around everything.

The opening title tune is a microcosm of the record. Starting with what sounds like a real New Orleans rhythm on drums, it mutates quickly to an old organ riff and then a straight, deep walking bass organ accompaniment to Valentino's guitar. The opening riff also infuses the rest of the record in many unexpected ways, tying the wide-ranging tracks together.

From there Valentino moves to "Dog Eggs," which sounds very old and new simultaneously; the tuba actually plays the bass line, with Rossi adding an eerie harmonium. Jones plays a solo that breaks from any tradition, and Sheppard pulls off a clarinet solo that also manages to fuse the feel of the new and the old.

Rossi collaborated with Valentino on "Return" and "Off Balance," and anyone familiar with his other work will recognize his eclecticism and why he and Valentino the soundshaper get along so well musically. As the two pieces explore many different sounds and their combinations, Jones is given a chance to really show what the tuba can do.

The music of "Stone Balloons" somehow very clearly evokes an image of the title—which is a strange thing itself—and Sheppard lets loose on clarinet, with low harmonium notes supporting mutated guitar sounds. And if you like Dire Straits, give a listen to "Where When & How" for a jazzy version of their deep sound.

Valentino is that engaging musician whose deep, humorous and exploratory sides create challenging but accessible music, brought to life here by a top-notch band. A total winner from any angle, even from under a stingy brim.

Track Listing: Stingy Brim; Dog Eggs; Oyster Bay; 4AM; Return; Stone Balloons; Where When & How; Coyote Cowboy; Off Balance; All Monk's Children.

Personnel: Johnnie Valentino: guitar, mandolin; Mick Rossi: Hammond B3 organ, harmonium, percussion; Mark Ferber: drums, percussion; Bob Sheppard: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Randy Jones: tuba.

Title: Stingy Brim | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: OmniTone

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Aleka" CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Glass
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Songs We Like" CD/LP/Track Review Songs We Like
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Meander
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 6, 2018
Read "Alto Gusto" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Say It" CD/LP/Track Review Say It
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2018