Northeast area saxophonist and Berklee School of Music educator Dan Moretti embarks on the piano-less jazz trio route, hearkening back to the impetus set forth by Sonny Rollins' 1957 Riverside classic, Way Out West. Since then, this framework has gained steam with modern jazz reedmen, sometimes leading to mixed results. Yet Marty Ballou's corpulent and limber electric bass lines generate a fertile bottom to complement drummer Marty Richards' polyrhythmic attack. The trio sports a broad and fluent sound, sparked by Moretti's integration of various stylistic and genre-crossing factors.
Other then leading or co-leading numerous sessions over the years, Moretti's experience and wide-ranging vernacular is evident via stints with vocal great Aretha Franklin, The Crusaders, and guitar hero Mike Stern, among other notables. He's a well-versed artist who instills quite a bit of pop and sizzle into the program. With linear theme-building exercises and a continual sense of buoyancy that underscores the agenda, his trio abides by a democratic group-centric methodology.
The trio hops, skips and jumps with snazzy three-way unison lines, while Ballou and Moretti render a consortium of enticing harmonic maneuvers throughout. On the New Orleans-inflected "Mumbo Jumbo," the saxophonist's hearty and soulful lines are enhanced with a stereo processing effect. Nevertheless, the band shrewdly morphs the jazz vibe with a bump and grind mindset, also evidenced on the Caribbean-tinged "Guacamaya," firmed-up by Ballou's thumping patterns and Richards' bustling drum parts.
The band covers a lot of ground while venturing into bop territory on "The Corner," highlighted by the saxophonist's sinewy and weaving phraseology, and solidified by the rhythm section's gusto. They soften the overall tone in spots; hence, a divergent track mix helps sustain interest. A minor beef pertains to the recorded sound which, at times, seems flat, where dynamics don't always resonate. Regardless, Moretti is a gifted improviser who projects an authoritative presence, while reaping optimum support from his superb rhythm section.
Off The One; Cajun the Squirel; Mumbo Jumbo; Fais Do-do; The Whisper; Invoke; Guacamaya; The Corner; Walk The Talk; Ready Set Free; Leelander.
Dan Moretti: tenor sax; Marty Ballou: electric bass; Marty Richards: drums.