Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mario Pavone - Arc Suite T/Pi T/Po (Playscape, 2010)

Bassist Mario Pavone has been one of the leading lights of the New York creative music scene for many years now, whether as a leader or as a sideman in the likes of the sorely missed Thomas Chapin Trio. He's assembled an excellent band here with Tony Malaby tenor and soprano saxophone, Jimmy Greene on tenor saxophone, Dave Ballou on trumpet and cornet, Peter Madsen on piano, Gerald Cleaver on drums and Steven Bernstein on slide trumpet. Pavone's compositions give this music a strong and powerful Mingus like feel, with the colors of a little big band and the nimbleness of a smaller ensemble. Highlights of the album include the opening track "Continuing" which has a nice arrangement for the group, with a bass solo that allows the horns to build back in gradually and featuring a well paced trumpet solo. "East Arc" develops a medium-up swing feel with supple trumpet soloing over strong drumming. Tenor saxophone builds in over strong rhythm section accompaniment to excellent effect. The music develops even deeper on "Poles" with higher pitched saxophone and dynamic drumming. Horns roll on underneath supporting strong bass and drums, before opening up for piano, bass and drums. A strong, urgent theme ushers in "West of Crash" with powerful tenor saxophone swirling and billowing. Trumpet shears off the top with fast drumming in support. This was an energetic album full of music that is fresh, exciting and alive. Pavone's bass playing and his compositions are exemplary and deserve wider recognition on the modern jazz scene. Arc Suite T/Pi T/Po -

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