Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jim Rotondi Four Of A Kind Posi-Tone 2008

For a first time outing as a 4tet, Jim Rotondi and crew slay this release. This is jazz you can sink your teeth into. Meat and potatoes jazz that is slightly reminiscent of the early Blue Note and Impulse release days when swing was king and nothing else mattered. Rotondi full fills a musical dream and in the liner notes special mentions the chemistry between the 4tet which simply permeates this stellar release. There has not been a Rotondi release to date that I have not enjoyed be it on some level but this 2008 release is an absolute must for the collector.

Where Rotondi and I agree is that an in-depth technical analysis of music is generally superfluous. However some of the better tracks include "Ruth" which is a tune written for Rontondi's mother. A simply melody expressing the simple love a son has for his mother. A lovely tune laid out nicely and performed with a nice touch of warmth and tenderness. "Blues For B.C. was written after a trip to British Columbia. According to Rontondi, written in about 20 minutes at the club owners place. God bless musical inspiration and when it strikes! The standard "Love For Sale" is a David Hazeltine arrangement and while slightly reharmonized it works and to quote Rotondi, " the case of Cole Porter's work you can do pretty much anything with it -conventional or unconventional - and it works." The topic being how well a great composers work can stand the test of time or the test of a skilled arranger like Hazeltine. The closer "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" allows the full artistry of Hazeltine to come to fruition by placing his own indelible mark on an iconic tune without disrespecting himself or the original.

Jim Rotondi cut his musical chops playing with Ray Charles but has gone on to make some incredible releases on his own. I refer to Rotondi as a stealth player as he does not get near the credit nor recognition he deserves. However, put Rotondi on the bandstand and the man is lethal. Rotondi's Posi-Tone discography has only improved over time and we are referring to a fairly high frame of reference to begin with. The consummate musician and searching artist by every measurable means. A killer release and a nice addition to any library.

Tracks: Ruth; Falset; Blues For B.C.; Love For Sale; I See You Brother; Minor Adjustment; Manteca; It's Easy To Remember; What Kind Of Fool Am I?

Personnel: Jim Rotondi: trumpet, flugelhorn; David Hazeltine: piano, fender rhodes; John Webber: acoustic bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.