221

Ralph Lalama: The Audience

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Ralph Lalama: The Audience A few choice items from the American Popular Songbook, tunes by Wayne Shorter, Duke Pearson, and Stevie Wonder, plus three brief duo improvisations, all rendered in a recognizable mainstream style by a band that includes two primary soloists and a bass and drums team. On the face of it, Ralph Lalama's second Mighty Quinn release appears rather modest relative to the ever expanding, unceasing advance of jazz and improvised music in the 21st Century. Nevertheless, throughout the ten tracks of The Audience the group delivers something as substantial as their forward leaning colleagues. Lalama and his cohorts, who occasionally play gigs in venues outside of New York City, possess the requisite skill and inspiration to pull off a clean, uncluttered, and coherent group sound that is rooted in bebop but indebted to no one.

Much of what needs to be known about Lalama's tenor saxophone prowess as well as his discerning approach to the music is encompassed in the ballad "Portrait of Jennie." Sporting a sumptuous tone, his lovely interpretation of the head is a textbook example of how to take liberties with a song's melody without distorting its essence. He bursts in at the end of guitarist John Hart's solo and offers clusters of thick set runs. Speeding up and slowing down like a roller coaster, Lalama's ninety second cadenza ends the track in a manner that's both sturdy and spectacular.

Hart has a penchant for making a lot of things happen in the midst of a somewhat cool exterior. During two choruses on "Love Thy Neighbor," he expertly rides the sure footed, medium tempo swing of bassist Rick Petrone, and drummer Joe Corsello, nimbly scampers away at will, inserts reflective chords, quotes "I've Never Been In Love Before" and "I'm Beginning To See The Light," and offers ample helpings of a blues influenced, soul jazz vocabulary. Frankly, it is hard to think of many guitarists who are as good at fusing so many disparate strands.

Because there's nothing flashy or tumultuous about the support of Petrone and Corsello, it's easy to take for granted their essential contributions to the record. Regardless of the tempo or type of material, they invariably make their presence felt in an unostentatious manner. It's worth diverting attention away Lalama and Hart for awhile to discover just how good the bassist and drummer are at keeping things moving. On a relaxed rendition of "I'm an Old Cowhand," for example, they generate a smooth, flowing, seemingly effortless swing throughout the head and solos.

Contrary to the current glut of jazz recordings composed of bands filled with virtuosic, strong willed individuals who play at one another and compete for attention, The Audience is largely about cooperation and mutual support. Because of a willingness to heed the call of something larger than their own individual talents, Lalama and company have produced a deeply satisfying recording.


Track Listing: Marie Antoinette; Livin' For The City; Love Thy Neighbor; Jonme; Portrait of Jennie; Minor League; Jome; Kiss & Run; Ricme; I'm an Old Cowhand.

Personnel: Ralph Lalama: tenor sax; John Hart: guitar; Rick Petrone: bass; Joe Corsello: drums.

Title: The Audience | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Mighty Quinn Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Strange Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Strange Circles
by Daniel Marx
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "A Kenton Celebration" CD/LP/Track Review A Kenton Celebration
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X" CD/LP/Track Review Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Tangofied III" CD/LP/Track Review Tangofied III
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 13, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.