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Pianist Bill Cunliffe, winner of the 1989 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, seems to be making something of a career out of recording Reed Kotler tunes. He did that with Bobby Shew, Gary Foster and Friends Play the Music of Reed Kotler in 2002; Bill Cunliffe and Gary Foster: It's About Love: The Music of Reed Kotler in 2003; and now he offers up Tomo: The Music of Reed Kotler.
Five musicians are named on the disc's cover, but with Cunliffe sitting in the producer/arranger chair, you might call this group Bill Cunliffe and Friends.
The sound here is sleek and elegant, like a new sedan on a showroom floor or rolling smoothly on a freeway drive, flashing in the sunlight, cylinders humming in a smooth synchronizationthat's how seamlessly the arrangements fit together; that's how Cunlffe shines up Kotler's classy songs.
This quintet, with guitarist Larry Koonse, tenor/soprano saxophonist Bob Shepard, bassist Derek Oles, and drummer Mark Ferber joining pianist Cunliffe, is the perfect fit for the classically pretty melodies of Kotler, tunes so well constructedand arranged herethat you sometimes miss the individual artistries at work.
Kotler's tunes remind me of some of the time-tested songsmith work of composers like Henry Mancini and Cole Porter: well-crafted melodies that flow effortlessly.
There's nothing groundbreaking on Tomo, just beautiful songs played with warmth and elegance by a cohesive group of musicians.
Track Listing: All My Love's for You, Sweet Suzannah, I will Always Love You, Did I Ask You if You
Knew (That I Love You), Someday I Will Find Her, In a Restful Place, On a Warm
Summer Night, When I Look At You, Love's Such a Funny Thing, It's Been A While,
Joyful Times, Waltz for Gary
Personnel: Bob Sheppard—tenor and soprano saxophnes and flute d'amour; Larry Koonse—
guitar; Bill Cunliffe—piano; Derek Oles—bass; Mark Ferber—drums
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com