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Two From RED Records: Pino and Vito Di Modugno

C. Michael Bailey By

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Il Modugno Della Famiglia

The Hammond B3 Organ and the accordion are distantly related kinfolk. However, this distance is shortened dramatically when accordionist father Pino Di Modugno and organist son Vito Di Modugno join each other on their respective recordings Bedouin and Organ Grooves. Both recordings employ the same personnel, save for the trumpet chair, which is filled by Vincenzo Deluci on Bedouin and Fabrizio Bosso on Organ Grooves (which also sports Stefano D'Anna on tenor saxophone.

Pino Di Modugno
Red Record

Now this is Jazz. One might be tempted to classify this music as World Music and could do so with justification. But, in my estimation, damn little World Music swings this hard. Pino di Modugno is an accordionist, a Jazz accordionist. He shares a rarified company with Belgian Jean Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans as the master of an odd instrument in the jazz vernacular. He is no Lawrence Welk and for that we should be grateful (not that there is anything wrong with Lawrence Welk). No, Pater famialis Pino di Modugnon (father of organist Vito di Modugno, who appears here) is an authentic jazz accordionist. He is so in a much more traditional way than Guy Klucevsek or Pete Selvaggio.

This traditional jazz bent is illustrated in the elder di Modugno's repertoire for Bedouin. His palette spans Be Bop (Bud Powell's "Down With It") to Latin Jazz (Michel Camilo's "One More Once") to Soul Jazz (Nat Adderley's "Work Song") to the blues (Milt Jackson's "Bags Groove"). Never does this di Modugno's instrument mock the music he is playing. It provides these jazz pieces with an old work charm not unlike sepia photography. Vito di Modugno provides the grease to the mix and guitarist Gibellini the butter. Cue up "Here's that Rainy Day" and enjoy an Italian aural pastry and strong coffee.

Track Listing: 1. Down With It (Bud Powell) 4.54; 2. The Good Life (A. Distel- J. Reardon) 7.04; 3. Mr. Smith (Pino E Vito Di Modugno - Crepuscule Siae) 5.44; 4. Intro Bedouin (Pino Di Modugno - Crepuscule Siae) 1.48; 5. Bedouin (Duke Pearson) 5.07; 6. One More Once (Michel Camilo) 4.58; 7. Here's That Rainy Day (J. Van Heusen) 5.16; 8. Poker D'as (M. Azzola - Joe Rossi) 5.19; 9. Work Song (Nat Adderley) 4.53 10. Residence Paradise (Pino E Vito Di Modugno - Crepuscule Siae) 7.11; 11. Bag's Groove (Milton Jackson) 4.37; 12. My Favorite Things (Rodgers - Hart) 5.32; 13. Deep Purple (Peter De Rose) 6.03; 14. Taylor's Coffee Blues (Vito Di Modugno - Crepuscule Siae) 6.52

Personnel: Pino Di Modugno Accordion; Sandro Gibellini Guitar; Vito Di Modugno Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano, Acoustic And Electric Bass; Massimo Manzi Drums; Michele Carrabba Tenor Sax (6, 14); Vincenzo Deluci Trumpet (6, 14).

Vito Di Modugno
Organ Grooves
Red Records

On Organ Grooves , the younger di Modugno shows a greater interest in Hard Bop, perfectly accenting his father's Bedouin's lack of that style. Vito di Modugno proves to be equally well studied in Jimmy Smith as well as Larry Young. He takes full advantage of tenorist Stefano D'Anna for a beautiful tenor-organ summit. The elder Pino di Modugno shows up on two pieces: Lalo Schifrin's "The Cat" and Eddy Louiss' "Les Grelots". In these songs, Pino di Modugno brings that same old world sophistication to his son's slick ride through the heyday of early 1960's Soul Jazz.

The ballads are very effective. "Bye Bye Blackbird" is taken at a healthy yet ornate clip, with Fabrizio Bosso leading the way with an uncharacteristically low-key introduction. Vito di Modugno's solo is full-bodied and straight-ahead, never losing site of the harmonic center of the piece. "I Don't Get Around Much Anymore" receives a bit of an organ-guitar jazz facelift that is throughly inventive, simple and enjoyable—swinging from beginning to end. The song sports a fine single string solo from guitarist Sandro Gibellini. A Joe Henderson blues ("Out of the Night") ends the disc on a high Hard Bop note with everyone soloing.

Track Listing: 1 Backup (Larry Young); 2 Bernie's tune (Bernie Miller); 3 The Cat (Lalo Schifrin); 4 ESP (Duke Pearson); 5 Tres jolie (Vito Di Modugno); 6 Bye bye Blackbird (Ray Henderson); 7 Red mood (Vito Di Modugno); 8 Nick waltz (Vito Di Modugno); 9 Les grelots (Eddy Louiss); 10 I mean you (Thelonious Monk); 11 Don't get around much anymore (Duke Ellington); 12 Little Frank (Vito Di Modugno); 13 Out of the night (Joe Henderson).

Personnel: Vito Di Modugno - Hammond Organ; Sandro Gibellini - guitar; Massimo Manzi - drums; Stefano D'Anna - tenor sax; Fabrizio Bosso - trumpet; Pino Di Modugno - accordion.

RED Records continues to provide the best in Italian Jazz. Italian Jazz has enjoyed well-deserved attention mostly because of recordings like this. This is daring, exciting music. For more information, visit RED Records on the web.


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