2013 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Alto Saxophone
A new day is dawning for Mike DiRubbo...and we get to come along for the ride!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I have long championed the independent artist and labels with Mike DiRubbo as the perfect example. Threshold finds Mike on his own with his own label and a stellar lineup banging out the kind of straight ahead jazz that takes modern post bop back to the future with soul, spirit and a swing that takes infectious to the next level. This is a quintet that takes no prisoners. Organist Brian Charette, drummer Rudy Royston, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and trumpet phenom Josh Evans throw down a set of originals and one Charlie Parker classic guaranteed to set your hair on fire. The Big Apple is brimming with talent, this may be one of the better slices.
Mike DiRubbo doesn't play alto saxophone, he owns it. Josh Evans is a fire breathing dragon on trumpet with Charette, Okegwo and Royston welcoming you to the land of rhythm and groove. Trumpeter Evans provides the perfect counterpoint for DiRubbo especially on smokers such as "Threshold" and "Pace" while turning in some blazing solo work on his own. While DiRubbo plays with an Art Pepper like intensity, he does so with finesse and the ability to shift dynamics, meter and tempo with such gems as "Faith" and "Salter of The Earth." While the music is modern post bop, Mike's ability to bring a contemporary and sometimes edgy tone elevates his game to a level some of his contemporaries are still trying to achieve. The rhythm section of organist Charette, drummer Royston and bassist Okegwo add color, texture and a deceptively subtle flavor to create a post bop mosaic of harmonic bliss.
You don't garner the recognition as "2013 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Alto Saxophone" for no reason. When more than a half dozen critics can agree on where to eat is amazing, have them agree on this honor is trend...Get on the bandwagon, plenty of room. Mike DiRubbo is a talent not to be missed and Threshold is one of the best for 2014.
Tracks; Threshold; Where There's A Willis There's A Way; Sun Steps; Pace; Faith; Curvas Perigosas; 1970; Salter Of The Earth; Bloomdido.
Personnel: Mike DiRubbo: Alto Saxophone; Josh Evans: Trumpet; Brian Charette: Organ; Ugonna Okegwo: Bass; Rudy Royston: Drums.