Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
OK, I'm on a Rita Marcotulli roll . . .
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 01/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
". . . so I might as well milk it before all her records disappear. This one isn't really her gig--it's that great and underrecorded tenor sax player Sal Nistico's--but she's a huge presence on it.Certainly worlds apart from what she went on to record on The Woman Next Door and Koine, with their ultra-sophisticated world-jazz vibe, this is pretty straight forward hard bop, although played at a very high level. If one moves toward more adventuresome music, it can never hurt, one suposes, to have something like this in one's resume, in case the jazz police come calling for one's bona fides.Throughout Marcotulli demonstrates monster chops. Her first solo (and, interestingly, she's the first one to solo on the disc), coming on the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer standard, "Come Rain or Come Shine," displays an architecture, melodicism, and rhythmic invention of the highest order, even somewhat eclipsing the leader's excellent effort which follows. Her approach bears a distinct resemblence to early Keith Jarrett, even so far as engaging in the same slightly annoying, barely on-mic vocalizing as she solos. And she comps brilliantly as well, constantly feeding Nistico sophisticated chords smartly voiced.Nistico himself was a fluid, masterful player, thoroughly familiar with both swing and bop vocabulary. It's often said that you can tell the quality of a jazz artist by how he or she plays a ballad. Nistico passes the test with flying colors, getting Strayhorn's "Lush Life" exactly right, with deep conviction, in a gorgeous fasion but without sentimentality, and tinged with melancholly.The centerpiece, Joe Henderson's greatest tune, "Inner Urge," taken at breakneck speed, showcases both the band's deep and deft conversational abilities and their prowess as soloists, Nastico's hortatory and expressive, Marcotulli's impossibly fleet, deeply swinging, rhythmically charged. Near the end Nistico and drummer Roberto Gatto engage in a stunning passage of back-and-forth conversation."Empty Room," a mid-tempo ballad and Nistico original that seems to shift between 3/4 and 4/4, conjures a kind of wistful melloncholly that the band instantly picks up on and hands off to Nistico and Marcotulli for solo expressions of the mood.Sammy Cahn's sly standard, "I Should Care," seems almost a jaunty, brave-smile-in-the-face-of-advercity commentary on the previous number: OK, you've gone and left me with an empty room, I should care--its sprightly, uptempo mood sustained for a full five minutes until a distinct sadness sets in as the tempo and mood slip back and forth between lento/somber and upbeat/cheerful, the latter prevailing.Things close out with Charlie Parker's rousing "Hymn," a stirring bop statement of perseverance in the face of adversity, with appropriately expressionistic solos from the two leaders.A note about the rhythm section, Roberto Gatto on drums and Marco Fratini on bass. These are two very fine players from the relatively unknown--at least in North America--Italian jazz scene. They don't get a lot of solo space, but when they do, the demonstrate prodigious chops--Gatto especially. And they always imbue the proceedings with a rock-solid foundation.A marvelous--near classic--expression of a venerable strain of this mercurial, original North American music, jazz, seen through a Southern European lens."
Sal Nistico's masterpiece?
jazz lover since 1960 | Tampa, Fl. and Franklin, NC | 01/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oddly enough, the previous reviewer concentrates on the fine pianist in this quartet, Rita Marcotulli. However, I'd like to concentrate on Sal Nistico, tenor sax player extraordinaire. Talk about your underrated or unknown geniuses. Ok, genius may be too strong a word. Sal was dedicated to playing his straight ahead jazz. I read an interesting interview dated 1965 on the web. You can read how Sal searches for the chance to play his kind of jazz. His words express the struggle that he and many other jazz musicians go through to realize their dreams and goals. He played with the best big bands, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, etc., and enjoyed some moments, but struggled to find his voice. Some moments clicked, and he played at this best. But he longed to play with his own quartet, where everyone would meld into playing jazz at it's most inspired. Well, I don't think he ever got that quartet, but this quartet will do fine. This is jazz at it's most inspired. This Italian rhythm section plays superbly(Rita included.) But Sal soars. He has been paying his dues for almost 30 years, and it shows. He swings and emotes like a master, the equal of any tenor player you can name. You will find it hard to find better interpretations of such gems as "Inner Urge" or "Lush Life."
Sal died in 1991, 3 years after this was recorded. Sal, I think you achieved your dream with this recording."