Picking up where the enrapturing “River of January” left off, Dave Zinno Unisphere’s follow-up, “Stories Told,” further explores the wild and beautiful jungle of jazz, more specifically, the Brazilian/Latin tributary: electric, funky, passionate, and rhythmic. Zinno (John Medeski, Hal Crook, Adam Nussbaum) here is partnered with Unisphere co-founder Mike Tucker (Arturo Sandoval), Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), Tim Ray (Tim Ray Trio, Paul Winter Consort) and drummer/percussionist Rafael Barata (Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Dianne Reeves). The ensemble is supreme and ambitious, benefiting from having a recording under their collective belt and refinement of the Unisphere mission. The performance is a passionate ode to the band’s multicultural vision.
The recording kicks off with “Neurótico,” by J.T. Meirelles, a samba jazz gem that sets the tone perfectly. Elsewhere, there’s a sweet rendition of Lennon-McCartney’s “Michelle,” arranged by pianist Ray; “Tá,” a rhythmically dynamic fusion of neo-Latin styles; and the powerful “Requiem,” composed by Mike Tucker in his father’s memory, which was heartrending for all of the players. “Stories Told” is, as it should be, a melting pot of pure jazz excitement, performed with verve and executed with inspiration. If you liked “River of January,” a recording with broad appeal and accessibility even considering Unisphere’s gorgeous intricacies, you’ll surely appreciate hearing these Stories.
Released today, “Stories Told” is already one of the most added and biggest gainers on the JazzWeek chart!