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Mario Pavone: Street Songs

Mark Corroto By

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Listing an accordion in a jazz sextet's lineup evokes either thoughts of avant-garde leanings or maybe kitschy hipsterism. Not so for bassist Mario Pavone.

Street Songs includes Adam Matlock's bellows-driven squeezebox, not as a gimcrack ornament, but a link to the immigrant working class neighborhood music of Pavone's post-WW II youth. The musician's history is significant because his bass has anchored modern music including bands by innovators such as Paul Bley, Bill Dixon, Thomas Chapin, Anthony Braxton, and Wadada Leo Smith. As a leader he has released two dozen sessions with his previous being Arc Trio (Playscape, 2013). Pavone also leads his Orange Double Tenor sextet with Tony Malaby and Jimmy Greene>

This sextet swaps the tenors for a second bassist, Carl Testa, and accordionist. The remainder of the bandmates are his frequent collaborators, drummer Steve Johns, pianist Peter Madsen, and trumpeter Dave Ballou. As customary for Pavone-led groups, the music contains compelling compositions by the bassist and smart arrangements, the duties shared by Pavone, Ballou, and Steven Bernstein.

He navigates the opening track "Elkna" with a marching tone. Muted trumpet plays off the deep tones and tight bends of the piece. Matlock's accordion parades with the bass allowing for Madsen's Monk-like notes to spill forth. Pavone favors an intricate weave to his music with tight turns on "Streetsong," a sly and squiggly dance between players "Cobalt Stories," but also an urbane sense of swing, "Alban Berg." Ballou's horn completes the music here with crystal notes, gutbucket blats, and skittering waterbug expressions. The accordion flavors the music by separating the bowed bass of Testa from the plucked one of Pavone on "Deez." Its bellowed sounds make even the most cosmopolitan arrangements seem at home in the old neighborhood.

Track Listing: Elkna; Streetsong; Cobalt Stories; Short Story; Alban Berg; Mythos; The Dom; Dees; Eyto.

Personnel: Mario Pavone: bass; Dave Ballou: cornet,flugelhorn; Peter Madsen: piano; Adam Matlock: accordion; Carl Testa; bass; Steve Johns: drums.

Title: Street Songs | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

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