Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Dante No Longer Repents
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
The vicissitudes of fame and Vinny Golia
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the larger mysteries of music is simply why some people become well known while others don't. One of the obvious answers if you are a jazz musician is location. Real talent is more likely to be heard in New York and Chicago than in L.A., San Francisco, Portland, Dallas, St. Louis or Seattle. Maybe it has to do with the fact that most jazz critics live in New York or Chicago. Who knows? What I do know is that a lot of great talent, the equal of any, gets ignored as a result. You have to be pretty deep into jazz to know the names of Dennis Gonzalez, Horace Tapscott and Bobby Bradford let alone names like Vinny Golia, Ken Filiano, Rob Blakeslee and Rich Halley.
The CD is a great example of what we are all missing. The Vinny Golia quintet on this CD is comprised of Golia on every woodwind known to man although he seems to prefer the extremes of range (e.g., piccolo, sopranino and contrabass saxes) alone with Tad Weed on the piano, Rob Blakeslee on trumpet, flugelhorn and cornet, Michael Bisio on the contrabass and Billy Mintz on the drum set.
The music is in a style I have heard called freebop although I am not sure how common a usage that is. Freebop usually has a harmonic structure that the soloists maintain but they also are free to drop that structure and play free if the logic of their solo developes that way. This is sophisticated music but is also very passionate. Its adherents emphasize the fact that it has to be accessible to the audience. It is very much a music to be played live before an audience.
Of course, how successful something like that is depends a lot on the material. Golia is woefully underrated as a composer/arranger as well as a soloist. His compositional instincts carry him in many directions from his 20+ piece Large Ensemble (see The Other Bridge which Amazon carries) to odd little ensembles like on Music for Like Instruments where he juxtaposes three alto saxs to himself playing the bass, baritone, stritch and soprano sax to bass duets with Bertram Turetsky. But his great strength may actually be writing for quartets or quintets.
Like Ornette Coleman, Golia writes very well for a two horn front line. Blakeslee who shares most of the soloing duties with Golia on this CD is a Portland treasure. If you like jazz trumpet and you are not familiar with his work as a sideman or as a leader (I can recommend Waterloo Ice House) you are doing yourself a disservice. He plays beautiful complex heartfelt lines that dance all over the range of his horn.
Golia himself is a truely accomplished multi-instrumentalist. One one song he plays a lyrical soprano solo, later he scampers all over the baritone with ease and then he plays a solo on the piccolo with the facility of a Dolphy.
The rhythm section of Weed, Bisio and Mintz are solid, supportive and incredibly alert. Really great bands in any genre tend to impress as a single organism- they make collective decisions to change direction and they do so as one. This can be the result of years of working together or just really good musicians really listening to each other. I suspect with these guys it is a lot of both.
Do yourself a favor. If you call yourself a contemporary jazz fan, if you love to hear great solos arising out of well-crafted music, pick this bad boy up. These are all talents who deserve to be better known."