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"The Runner Up"
All compositions composed by Bartosz Hadala except for "A NIGHT IN TUNISIA," which was composed by Dizzy Gillespie.
This well-recorded compact disc contains 10 tracks of high-energy contemporary jazz. The leader, pianist Hadala, has a very fine touch, reminds one of the late Bill Evans. He is backed on most of the tracks by acoustic bass, electric bass, drums and percussion. On the balance of the the disc, Ada Rovatti joins on tenor and soprano sax, along with the trumpet veteran Randy Brecker. Both of these instrumentalists add much to the proceedings.
Each track is quite well done; if I have any favorite track, it is probably Track 1-"SALT WATER," which features the pianist with his delicate touch, backed by rhythm only. Track 7-"MADAME," is slow and dreamy, also with fine piano. Dizzy's "A NIGHT IN TUNISIA," the shortest track on the disc, gets an unusual treatment, but stands up to other versions that I have heard.
The sidemen (or should I say "sidepersons?") give great support to the pianist. Saxophonist Rovatti, from Italy, plays well, has worked with Phil Woods, Lee Konitz and the Bob Mintzer Big Band. Randy Brecker probably needs no introduction, has worked extensively in many venues, including Blood, Sweat & Tears, with James Taylor, and many jazz groups such as Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. Bassist Ueda has been associated with the all-woman big band Diva, along with the smaller group from the band, Five Play. Antonio Sanchez, originally from Mexico, has played with the Dizzy Gillespie United Nation Orchestra, also the Pat Metheny Group. Sorry, but I could not find much information about Dave Anderson and Kevin Garcia, but they play very well on this disc.
Now, if I should have any adverse reaction to this disc, it would be that, too often, the music , to these ears, seems to have a sameness. I would very much like to hear pianist Hadala stretch out on a few numbers from "The Great American Songbook," backed by bass and drums, or bass and guitar. I think the results would be exciting.
For 10 tracks of high-energy contemporary jazz, I can heartily recommend this recording.
Review composd by Bill Garts - Producer/Host "Saturday Swing Section" which can be heard each Saturday from 8 until 11 p.m on WQLN-FM, Erie, PA www.wqln.org
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