Lucas Pino is a New York-based tenor saxophonist who leads the No Net Nonet, a band that fits snugly into the jazz tradition but displays its own style of creativity. Despite what this CD's title suggests, this group's music is full of emotion and warmth.
That is evident from the outset with "Antiquity," written by alto saxophonist Alex LoRe; this is a floating melody that meshes undulating lines of tenor, piano and guitar together within a cocoon of soaring brass and saxophones, and features lovely alto playing from the composer. Pino wrote most of the subsequent compositions which all invoke the classic colors of big band jazz. "Look Into My Eyes" expertly navigates the five horns through a swarming, tempo-shifting melody with the massed sound of a larger orchestra. Pino and trombonist Nick Finzer solo rapturously and Jimmy McBride's drums punch throughout. "Film At 11" is a dark, romantic piece with the glistening beauty of a Charles Mingus ballad that features lush baritone sax from Andrew Gutauskas and elegant piano from Glenn Zaleski. "Horse of a Different Color" is an up-tempo hustler with giddy "Four Brothers"-like sax lines and crisp drum breaks; it also sports dazzling tenor, trombone, piano and alto solos, a couple of Thelonious Monk references and a short detour into sassy trumpet blues.
Two tracks feature the voice of Camila Meza. Reminiscent of Duke Ellington's use of wordless voice, "Frustrations" has her moaning over a melancholy melody which pits guitar and piano against luxuriant horns, before Pino rises up with a beautiful bass clarinet solo. Meza's other feature, Rafal Sarnecki's "Sueno De Gatos," is a Latin-based tune with the band's notes popping and percolating. Meza sings the words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in a lively manner alongside Sarnecki's guitar, while the rest of the band jogs around them and Pino adds a wriggling tenor solo. The CD ends with an old computer game theme harmonized and swirled into 95 seconds of Caribbean party music.
Lucas Pino's composing and arranging has echoes of explorers like Monk, Mingus and Ellington but he does not copy their styles. Instead he works their ideas into the fabric of his own unique and attractive music. His nonet is a potent group.
Antiquity; Horse of a Different Color; Film at 11; Look into My Eyes; Frustrations; Sueno de Gatos; Baseball Simulator 1000.
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