James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review
River of January
Dave Zinno Unisphere
Whaling City Sound
River of January is a Latin jazz album that adventures off the beaten path, sweeping the listener away in a stellar journey. Lively and exciting, the songs rouse the listener’s spirit and showcase the performers’ talents for creativity and improvisation. Highly recommended. The tracks are “Babycakes” (8:27), “Remember When” (7:54), “Feir a Hippie” (6:43), “Inverno Sem Rio” (7:39), “Little Lilli” (10:52), “Recife Blues” (6:45), “Wichita Lineman” (6:47), “South End Blues” (6:08), “Rapanui” (3:41) and “Um a Zero” (3:28).
By Dave Rogers
Eric Wyatt – Look To The Sky (Whaling City): Saxophonist/singer/composer is obviously a hard bop player who is strongly influenced by John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. He plays a unique version of “My Favorite Things” sounding a lot like Coltrane but also leading a choral part with Andrea Miller that sounds more like the Rodgers & Hammerstein original. The remainder of the disc is instrumental and features Benito Gonzales (piano), Keyon Harrold (trumpet), Eric Wheeler (bass), with Shinnasuke Takahashi and Kyle Poole trading off on drums. There are some very strong tales on this disc. Click Here to purchase the CD
Dave Zinno – Unisphere (Whaling City): I was immediately curious about this comment in the liner notes to this disc, “Unisphere…infuses the vanguard of modern jazz with what I heard as a romanticism all too uncommon in artistic expression corrupted by the materialist zeitgeist. ‘Evolution’ and “change” are not synonymous, and these guys know it.” I didn’t have to listen long to hear the romanticism and the joy. And they swing! Leader Dave Zinno (bass), Mike Tucker (tenor sax), Leo Genovese (piano, melodica), Rafael Barata (drums) and guest Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet) have a delightful sound: joyful, cool, swinging, warm and infectious. There are two originals by Zinno, three by Mike Tucker, and one by Genovese and four covers. Sweet! Click Here to purchase the CD
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By: Leonid Auskern
For many years I have been listening to American guitarist John Stein (all his CDs are on Whaling City Sound and invariably fall into our “CD-Reviews”) and he never ceases to amaze with every new work. This time it’s a duet album, where bass player Dave Zinno is John’s partner.
The story of this project is told in the liner notes to the album by Stein himself (besides his notes, there is also a great text from John Thomas, not the first time commenting on Stein’s work). In 2016, Stein signed a contract for a month of performances at a restaurant in New Bedford, Massachusetts (the city where the Whaling City Sound label is based). John’s friend and label owner, Neal Weiss, recommended Dave Zinno as a duet partner. The two musicians “fused” so successfully, that the idea to record a joint album was born. Some of it was recorded live at the restaurant, in the morning before its official opening. Then a few weeks later, the musicians moved to Stein’s home studio, where they finished the work with the help of the classy sound engineer Antonio Oliart Ros. So the album “Wood and Strings” was born.
“Wood and strings” – that’s what John and Dave called it, meaning their instruments: guitar and double bass. I would call it “Strings and Fingers” rather: it was the touch of the sensitive, understanding, and able fingers of the musicians that gave birth to the magic miracle of this wonderful music. The album contains 14 songs: a few of Stein’s compositions, some standards, and one song of Zinno’s. The album can be savored as a delicious dish, if mainstream jazz is the “kitchen” you like. Stein has long been considered one of the foremost guitarists in this genre. In Dave Zinno, he found a worthy partner. “Up and at ‘Em” and “Switch-a-roo” (composed by Stein), and “Beatrice” by Sam Rivers are highlights. Of course, there was a place in the program for Brazilian jazz, a type of music for which Stein has very warm feelings: “Modinha” from de Moraes and Jobim fit the bill. Seventy minutes of clever, subtle, inventive music is “Wood and Strings,” at your service!