Fetish is an original music album created by Dave Zinno and his Unisphere bandmates (Mike Tucker, Eric Benny Bloom, Leo Genovese, Tim Ray, and Rafael Barata) during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. The titular song “Fetish” was inspired by pandemic-related isolation; Zino has jokingly referred to the complex bass of the piece as “Bass Fetish” before it was transformed into a whole song. Fetish is a testimony to collaborative creativity that shines through despite the challenges inherent in adhering to pandemic restrictions. Highly recommended! The tracks are Fetish, Out of the Hole, Unknown Mystery, The Golden Age, So Close So Far, Beatriz, Future History, Melancholy Daydream, Over the Horizon, Into the Whole, Nile, and Meu Fraco e Cafe Forte. 76 min., 26 sec.
Multitalented musician Gerry Gibbs presents Songs From My Father, a 2-CD album of his father’s original compositions (except for “Tango For Terry”, which is composed by Chick Corea). A jazz celebration honoring the lifetime achievements of Gerry’s father, Terry Gibbs, this album reinterprets Terry’s songs through Gerry’s rearrangements, and is a rousing, emotional, and rapturous audio tour. Highly recommended, especially for jazz connoisseurs! The songs are Kick Those Feet, Smoke ’em Up, Bopstacle Course, Nutty Notes, Take It From Me, Sweet Young Song of Love, The Fat Man, Lonely Days, and Hey Chick on disc 1, and Townhouse 3, T & S, 4 a.m., Waltz For My Children, Hippie Twist, Lonely Dreams, For Keeps, Pretty Blue Eyes, Gibberish, and Tango for Terry on disc 2. 1 hour, 36 min., 47 sec.
Dave Zinno Unisphere
Whaling City Sound
Bassist and composer Dave Zinno issues his third album, Fetish, with his group Unisphere. Zinno calls it the culmination of a year without live music and thus, it’s a huge, in some cases, unbridled release of energy for he and his band members – Mike Tucker (tenor sax), Eric Benny Bloom (trumpet & flugelhorn), Leo Genovese (keyboards), Tim Ray (piano), and Rafael Barata (drums/percussion), and guest Rafael Rocha on trombone. Most of the dozen tunes, recorded in two six-hour sessions, were composed by band members with Zinno (3), Tucker (3), Genovese (2), and Ray (1). They have their hands in the arrangements as well.
The album kicks off with Zinno’s title track. It’s a rollicking, volcanic thrill ride from the outset, meant to convey both chaos and celebration, that eventually settles into a groove once Genovese takes his keyboard solo, and the leader makes an emphatic bass statement to close it out. Genovese penned the robust, sweeping “Out of the Hole,” one of five where he plays the acoustic piano and Ray sits out. The pace on this one is not quite as frenetic, but it still clips along briskly, propelled by the pianist’s rapid runs and strong horn parts, especially Tucker’s elongated solo. Bloom steps in to make his first compositional contribution to the band on “Unknown Mystery,” a more relaxed pace than the two previous but celebratory and triumphant in tone. The burning pace, (album has not lagged a bit to this point) continues with the first of Tucker’s tunes, “The Golden Age,” one that he Barata crafted together in a 4/4 meter as a tip to hard bop.
“So Close, So Far,” the second of Zinno’s tunes, begins somewhat tentatively, before Tucker and Bloom state the theme, underpinned by the leader’s bass and Genovese comping on the piano, and stellar solos from Tucker and Bloom. Ray arranged “Beatriz,” from Brazilian composer Edu Lobo, presenting the band its first ballad, with Tucker’s gorgeous tenor leading the way. “Future History,” with its dramatic bass intro, is from composer Paul Nagel, a colorful piece featuring a bright sonic palette that again has sparkling turns from the front line and another glistening Genovese piano spot and impressive work on the kit from Barata.
Tucker authored both the sweeping and uplifting “Melancholy Daydream” and “Over the Horizon.” The former features both Ray (piano) and Genovese (keyboards) while the latter has Genovese at the piano. Tucker blows a storm in the former while the “Over the Horizon” breathes more easily but seriously, with Tucker, and Genovese engaged in dialogue before Zinno steps forth with his own poignant statement.
“Into the Whole” is the second Genovese piece, a pulsating jazz waltz that features a glowing flugelhorn solo from Bloom, followed by one of Tucker’s more lyrical statements, a rhythm section break led by Zinno, and a mellow trombone entry that builds into a bright burst of all three horns. “Nile” is one of Zinno’s early 1980s compositions inspired by the film “African Queen.” The band does a great job of creating and improvising the jungle sounds, transporting the listener to those river environs. The final track, “Meu Fraco e Café Forte” is from samba legend Dom Salvador, arranged by Rafael Rocha with assistance from drummer Barata. Unlike the others that were recorded in the studio, this one was recorded remotely with Barata assembling tracks from each member. The title suggests strong coffee and Unisphere, in their consistent fashion, bring the requisite potency, ending with a joyous climax.
This is a most jubilant recording with every track uplifting in its own way. These cats bring their ‘A’ game and swing hard throughout.
10/23: Enjoy the “Magic” of Greg Abate in Chan’s intimate, acoustically balanced egg rolls and jazz supper club
Saxophone giant Greg Abate has enjoyed being number one on Jazz Week for over a month with his brilliant arrangements and collaboration with legendary pianist Kenny Baron “Magic Dance”. This Super Quartet features The Tim Ray Trio … Tim on piano, John Lockwood bass and Mark Walker drums.
Dave Zinno and his Unisphere bandmates—Mike Tucker on tenor sax, Eric Benny Bloom on trumpet and flugelhorn, Leo Genovese on keyboards, Tim Ray on piano, Rafael Barata, drums and percussion, and special guest Rafael Rocha on trombone—have been writing and practicing, biding their time until jazz scene reopened. In that time, Unisphere took advantage and managed to piece together, Fetish, a brilliant and beautiful album. The colorful panorama, tonal palette, and sonic breadth featured on Fetish are breathtaking. Zinno’s Unisphere is jubilant, rapturous, and free. Everyone contributed compositions or arrangements to the project, which creates a stunning picture of the diversity represented by this group. Fetish is the sound of that catharsis, that anticipation, a primal release of aural energy. “This project is the culmination of a year without live music,” says Zinno. “Every ounce of energy and ambition, in reserve from not expending it for so long, is on this record. I hope people feel what we felt while creating it.”