Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Gerardo Frisina - Join The Dance - 2010 - Schema

Two things I like about this release. Firstly, it's on the irreproachable Schema Records label, and secondly it's a release by the genius Gerardo Frisina. This man is bursting with talent, turning his hand to a sizzling Latin charger, full of kick, rhythm, spice, to a romantic and passionate Latin swayer, stomping Nu-Jazz dance and now to top-drawer quality straight Latin Jazz. The Italians, as well as the Finnish and Swedes have really thrown down the gauntlet to their erstwhile American cousins. What they are saying is this: WE can make real, proper Jazz music. Can you? The response has been deafeningly quiet. So, I take that as a no then? I reckon so...the dear old Americans have long since lost any music credibility - especially in the Jazz field - and labels like Schema easily hold as much awe to me in the 21st Century as Blue Note did back in the 30s - 60s. The founders, and Great Artists that made Blue Note would look at Schema Records to day and their hearts would swell with pride, and their blood would fill with fire. Gerardo Frisina delivers an album that the Masters would be more than proud. Sadly, the Americans are content to churn out music fit for elevators and shopping malls, and so the Europeans have taken the baton and are running with it like Olympic Champions.

Every track on here is a winner and I cannot fault the album. Straight Jazz, Latin flavours and even a few world flavours thrown in for good measure, "Join The Dance" is a heady concoction of rhythms, spices, flavours and soundscapes that are sexy, passionate, bullish and powerful. Take the intoxicating Johnny Lytle-inpired "Mille E Una Notte". the vibes, horns, jazz dance rhythm and, yes, sitar create a storming mid 1960s flavour that cannot be rivalled by yet another smooth jazz sax album. Let's all snore in unison! This album is MUCH better than that tripe. This invigorates, enhances your listening experience, lifts you up high and whisks you away. Like it says on the tin...Join The dance. "Tata Somba" is your first tasty morsel and again is what i call timeless is a fresh, totally-smack-bang-up-to-date 2010 recording and yet would not be out of place back in the 1950s or 1960s. This is neither mimicry, pastiche or's the real McCoy delivered by one of best exponents of jazz in the world today...Schema and Gerardo Frisina.

The classic vocal cut "Will You Walk A Little Faster" with it's wacked-out lyrics act as a perfect vehicle for the vocal prowess of Norma Winstone. I'd like to hear Dianne Reeves or Marlene Shaw tackle this. This is but one of two vocal covers, the other being Duke Ellington's "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'". THIS is superb and vocalist Francesca Sortino impresses, with a real American lilt and almost pitches herself in a Doris Day mode! Trust me, she does and this in my book is NOT bad! The rest are new tunes, all penned, or shared by Gerardo Frisina. His Latin leanings are never far away, and the gorgeous "Joy Shout", complete with vibes courtesy of Pasquale Bardaro are nothing short of brilliant. the Afro-Cuban rhythm and high hat of "Titoro" is toothsome and drizzled with flute by Alfonso Diedda it is rendered essential listening. Completing the set is the superb "For My Mother", a song that should make her very proud indeed. And if she's a fan of this kind of tune then she she must be one very Hip lady indeed! This is one CD that you must not overlook as it is simply superb from start to finish.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe