Joe DeRenzo: She's a Woman

This performance included on the ESC collection Step Inside Love A Jazzy Tribute to the Beatles first appeared on drummer Joe DeRenzo's fine album Core Beliefs. DeRenzo was out of the music business for quite a spell before he decided to reenter it a few years ago. After stints as an actor and photographer, he returned to his first love with a passion. Along with longtime collaborator pianist Tom Zinc, he interprets "She's a Woman" in the '60s mode of Ramsey Lewis. The tune begins with a group-inclusive vamp before it introduces Zink's Lewis-ish take on the melody. During his solo, Zink gets into the tune deeper than Lewis would have, without ever losing the vibe. Saxophonist Berger is also a standout, his solo being a particular highlight here. Throughout, the rhythm unit keeps things moving along jauntily. This is fun jazz. It is good to have Joe DeRenzo back in the fold.

December 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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Mitchel Forman: Here, There and Everywhere

Those of you who have read any of my many reviews of Mitchel Forman's music know I am an unabashed fan. I think he is one of the best pianists and composers today. On this ESC-produced collection, we get to hear how Forman interprets a classic Beatles tune. Needless to say, I think he is spot on here, too. The tendency for any jazz pianist covering a Beatles song is to reflexively make it swing. Forman does a little of that in sections, but even then he swings in unexpected places. It is Forman's imagination that sticks out to me. He never leaves the core tune far behind, yet somehow you forget you are listening to a melody you have heard a thousand times before. Forman changes the character of "Here, There and Everywhere" much the way you change the character of a house by painting it another color.

December 07, 2008 · 0 comments

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