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Shawn Costantino: Waltz for Anne

Edward Blanco By

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Director of Jazz Studies at the prestigious Harvard-Westlake School in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Shawn Costantino features a blend of contemporary and modern jazz in a nicely packaged collection of originals and covers on Waltz for Anne, the saxophonist/educator's first recoding as leader. Armed with a graduate degree from DePaul University, where he honed his skills as the lead alto player for the renowned DePaul Jazz Ensemble, Costantino established himself performing behind such giants as the late James Moody Phil Woods Jim McNeely, and David "Fathead" Newman.

Waltz for Anne is a tour de force of exceptional reed play from Costantino, who engages in a conversation of eight challenging pieces—employing the diverse voices of the alto, tenor, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute and alto flute—and makes a superb musical statement. Don't be misled by the saxophonist's multi-instrumental performance here; this is not a solo recording. Costantino plays as part of a quintet, with band mate Andrew Synowiec playing a major role on electric and acoustic guitars. It is Synowiec, in fact, who opens up the music on the first piece, a funky rendition of the Lennon/McCartney pop classic, "Can't Buy Me Love."

Costantino contributes four airy tunes, beginning with "Whatever You Do," "The Transplant," "Song for Ryan" and the delicate humbling title track revealing this teacher's talents as a writer. The love standard "Don't Let Me Be Lonely," is not to be missed either—soft and sensitive, it is truly a highlight of the disc. Costantino's rendition of Ray Noble's gorgeous "The Touch of Your Lips," clocking in at almost eleven minutes, is just as warm and tender—all of it pleasantly pleasurable.

With Waltz for Anne, Costantino stakes his claim as someone to watch for in the jazz world; there's no waltzing around that. His breakout performance on reeds—and the quality of his music—is sure to bring this young educator/musician some well-deserved attention.

Track Listing: Can't By Me Love; Whatever You Do; Don't Let Me Be Lonely; The Transplant; Waltz for Anne; The Touch Of Your Lips; Song for Ryan; Bailout.

Personnel: Shawn Costantino: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet. Andrew Synowiec: guitar. Lincoln Cleary: piano, fender rhodes, organ. Jens Kuross: drums. David Hughes: bass.

Title: Waltz for Anne | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


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