A WCS Year in Review in O’s Place Jazz Magazine–Read the reviews of the 2021 releases
2021 O’S PLACE REVIEWS FOR: Whaling City Sound
Just Passing Thru
O’s Notes: Saxophonist, composer and producer Miles Donahue presents a fine contemporary jazz
set with Just Passing Through. Bassist Joe Santerre gets in the mix on “Living Room Blues”
before Donahue soothes us on song “Killing Me Softly”, the lone cover. Guest Mike Stern (g)
adds fusion elements to “7-9-65” and the funky “Railroaded”. We also enjoyed the cool vibe of
“Donny’s Groove” and “A Man of Few Words”.
O’s Notes: Cool Water is a good title for this mix of mostly original, modern jazz. Murphy does a
great job throughout the set providing support and tickling the ivory while leading the band. He
mixes in a taste of contemporary jazz on “My Life” featuring vocals from percussionist Kaïssa
Doumbe Moulongo and Ku-umba Frank Lacy. Lacy appears later singing and playing trombone
on “Coolin’ Me Out”. We loved the dynamics and the bass solo from Eric Wheeler on “Free Fur
Nina” and then with the bow on “Body and Soul”. We liked the spirit of the groove shining on
“Cuttin’ Trane’s Corners” where drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts comes alive as well!
O’s Notes: Reed master Greg Abate celebrates the music of the legendary pianist Kenny
Barron with Kenny Barron on piano, Dezron Douglas (b) and Johnathan Blake (d). This songbook
is 14 of Kenny’s best compositions over two discs. There’s a jovial groove that swings on “Cooks
Bay” with Greg varying the mood shifting from sax to flute. There is sweet sax harmony on
“Innocence”, passion on “Rain” and a hard swing on “Voyage”, just a few of the highlights.
O’s Notes: Guitarist and composer Jim Robitaille leads the way in this soft-fusion session with
bassist Bill Miele and Chris Poudrier on drums. The music is all original except for three covers
notably the cool, mellow version of Lennon/McCartney’s “Here, There and Everywhere”. They
serve up a taste of Latin on “When We Passed” and Miele adds a fine solo on “Chance Meeting”
to wrap up the set.
Only Love Will Stay
O’s Notes: Serbian guitarist Rale Micic leads most melodies with a relaxing groove that feels just
right. Jared Gold complements him on the B3 with drumming duties split between Johnathan
Blake and Geoff Clapp. The pandemic forced Micic to slow down, reflect, and try new things, as
illustrated on Only Love Will Stay. Highlights are “How Deep Is The Ocean”, “Riverdale”, “Lipe
Cvatu” and “Better Days Ahead”.
O’s Notes: Guitarist John Stein reflects on the dark light cast on the arts over the past two years
with a set that invites hope. Serendipity opens with a blues feeling on “Alfie’s Theme”, then a
dash of calypso “On Green Dolphin Street” before bouncing around through the rest of the
session. While Stein dominates on guitar, bassist Ed Lucie anchors the trio and drummer Mike
Connors trades riffs with him on “Labor Of Love”. It’s a cool recording arising from the wrath of
A Song of Hope
O’s Notes: Tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt leads the charge with an excellent band that sizzles and
pops throughout the session. We enjoyed their cover of “Fragile” featuring vocalist Samara Joy,
the funky “Fur Live”, “Contemplation” and Watts’ rousing drum solo on “Of Things To Come
Rtk”, a duet with Wyatt. We also enjoyed “One For Hakim” featuring the entire band, a strong
showing for trumpeter Theo Croker, Wyatt and the fierce rhythm section: Donald Vega (p), Eric
Wheeler (b) and Jeff Watts (d).
Dave Zinno Unisphere
O’s Notes: Bassist Dave Zinno is back with Unisphere, his band that includes Mike Tucker (t-sax),
Eric Benny Bloom (t), Leo Genovese (keyboards), Tim Ray (p), Rafael Barata (d, perc) and
special guest Rafael Rocha (tb). Zinno immediately asserts himself on the opening title track with
a rousing intro. They play vigorous Modern Jazz blending Brazilian and American jazz that
leaves us feeling energized. After slowing down briefly on “Beatriz” they return to the feverish
pace. You can feel Zinno’s presence throughout the session but Tucker and Bloom also make hay
on “Melancholy Daydream” and on the mysterious “Nile” making Fetish a balanced effort.
Songs From My Father
O’s Notes: The pandemic put drummer/composer Gerry Gibbs 9th album on hold but a series of
discussions and fate led to him making Songs From My Father, an album dedicated to his father,
vibraphonist/composer Terry Gibbs. There are four distinct Thrasher Dream Trios: with 1. the late
Chick Corea (p) and Ron Carter (b), 2. Kenny Barron (p) and Buster Williams (b), 3. Patrice
Rushen (p) and Larry Goldings (B3), and 4. Geoff Keezer (p) and Christian McBride (b). Gerry
plays drums and percussion on all 19 tracks (2 discs). There’s an upbeat contemporary Latin vibe
on “Townhouse 3”, heavy swing on “Bopstacle Course” and “4 A.M.” They take a breath on
“Lonely Dreams”, a ballad before ending disc 1 with “Hey Chick” featuring vibraphonist Terry
Gibbs. Disc 2 ends with “Tango for Terry” composed by Chick for the elder Gibbs. This was
Corea’s last recording, adding to the allure of this historic recording.