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The theme of this, the latest release by pianist Pete Malinverni, is, as the album title would imply, cities.
He pays homage to Paris, New Orleans, Chicago, Istanbul, Salem, Venice and even the town that visits each of us on occasion, "Lonely Town."
Malinverni, who has a strong gospel background and affiliation, includes from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," "There's A Boat Dats Leavin' Soon for New York" and the even more traditional gospel offering, "A City Called Heaven" which Malinverni wrote. His piano, as is his writing, is sensitive to all the nuances engendered by the concept of a heaven. Bassist Ugonna Okegwo and trumpeter Tim Hagans add their important sensitivities to the song as well.
Aside from "Heaven,""Istanbul" grabbed me with Malinverni's brilliant post-bop solo which never lagged and was fresh throughout. Hagans was equally brilliant.
"SOMETHING FOR YOU"
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Pianist-vocalist Eliane Elias takes on the unenviable task of interpreting the late Bill Evans both pianistically and vocally.
A musician of lesser talent would be hard pressed to even try. However, Ms. Elias actually enhances some of Evans' works by singing with her elegant phrasing and preeminent sense of swing.
Of the 17 tracks included, only six are Evans compositions. The rest are tunes with which he is closely identified. One of his most famous, "Waltz for Debby" gets a great Elias vocal treatment. Her version of "Blue in Green" is an instrumental gem, in part because of bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron.
DAVID FATHEAD NEWMAN
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Veteran saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman gathers a group of other seasoned players for this stellar Highnote release.
The rhythm section of pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Yoron Israel provide the pulsing swing for Newman and trombonist Curtis Fuller to improvise and simply have fun soloing with.
Of course the star is Newman, who, despite his 60 years of performing, plays with the enthusiasm of a youngster. His flute is clear and melodic on "A New York State of Mind." My favorite track is "Sky Lark" which features Newman on tenor, lush and full. Walton's piano solo is warm and flowing. Every player here plays up to the caliber of his reputation making this CD a most valuable addition to any collection.
"THE PRINCE'S GROOVE"
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Hammond B-3 artist Vince Seneri has put together this brilliant album which allows the showcasing of his several dimensions.
It's a surprise when he takes the love ballad "Dearly Beloved" and turns up the heat for a swinging 3:53 version. That followed his opener, "Renegade Man," a nice medium tempo piece that served to introduce some excellent work by trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Paul Bollenback who formerly was Joey De Francesco's main man.
Flutist Dave Valentin is featured along with Brecker on flugelhorn, percussionist Riche Flores and Bollenback for an inspired version of "Passion Dance." My favorite track shows the sensitive Seneri as tenor saxophonist Houston Person joins him for a bluesy treatment of ballad "The Nearness of You." Seneri and Person seemed to bring out the very best in each other.
Dick Bogle hosts a weekly show on KMHD 89.9 FM. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays.Reach him at r.bogle@comcast.