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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Eddie GOMEZ

Per Sempre

BFM JAZZ 302 062 414 2

 

 

  1. Arianna

  2. Bologna d’Inverno

  3. Why Cry?

  4. Forever

  5. Pops and Alma

  6. Stella by Starlight

  7. Homesick

  8. Epilogue

Eddie Gomez (bass), Marco Pignataro (tenor & soprano saxophones), Matt Marvuglio (flute), Teo Ciavarella (piano), Massimo Manzi (drums)

rec. in December, 2009 at Groove Factory Studio, Castel Maggiore, Bologna, Italy

BFM JAZZ 302 062 414 2 [55:48]

Recently I’m become more aware than ever that the more I learn about music be it classical or jazz the more I realise I don’t know. This disc is a perfect example of that because I have to admit that I can’t recall hearing of Eddie Gomez before yet he is thought by some to be the greatest bass player of all time. As if to emphasise this even more he worked with Bill Evans for eleven years (1966-77) and appears on 25 records with him. The only thing I can think of is that I’ve not concentrated on other band members except where their names are already known to me. I feel put very much in my place by this realisation.

Emerging from my imaginary confession booth I have to say that this is one of the most enjoyable records I’ve heard in a very, very long time. I can imagine that record shops would slip the disc into that neat category of “smooth jazz” whatever that is but suffice it to say I don’t think it’s this. Nevertheless, that said it is the very essence of smooth in that there are no fast and furious pieces on this disc; it is a disc to relax and unwind to with elegant, beautifully played originals (apart from Stella by Starlight) that exude calm in spades.

The first song sets the stall out brilliantly with the most rapturously, gorgeously delicious tune I’ve heard for years. Arianna was composed by pianist Teo Ciavarella and dedicated to his daughter (though it is erroneously credited on the list as being by Eddie). The outstanding thing for me is the perfect balance between the 5 musicians that is achieved on this track and throughout the entire disc; everyone’s contribution is of absolutely equal importance helping to create a totally homogenous piece of musical canvas and I could almost hear the cries of ‘yeeeeaaahhh!’ that must be emitted every time it’s played live in a club.

When you’ve listened to the whole disc and are about to play it again, as you undoubtedly will, you will recognise that the four who composed the songs are definitely “singing from the same hymn sheet”. In fact you would be forgiven for assuming that there was a single composer at work so identical does their musical view seem to be.

Having said how impressed I was with Arianna I was just as impressed with all the other tracks, each of them demonstrating the fantastic abilities of these musicians. Unsurprisingly each exudes complete self-assuredness on their instrument and achieves the most beautiful tonal colours and a harmonious overall sound that is quite irresistible.

It seems churlish to single any individual out but I was massively taken with Matt Marvuglio’s flute playing that is the musical equivalent of sumptuous giving an added dimension to what is already a perfectly measured set of tunes.

It is always good to hear such a band play standards because for me it helps to see exactly what they are about since I have a kind of aural measure against which to judge them. Therefore Stella by Starlight is the perfect vehicle to do so. It’s taken slower than I’m used to hearing, presumably to keep it in the same vein as the rest of the disc but that makes you hear it as if for the first time with sax, flute and piano sharing the main theme between them and exploring the tune’s core essence via their improvisations upon it. Needless to say they make a marvellous job of it.

Eddie himself, having remained very much in the background for much of the disc, is featured a little more prominently in Homesick a lovely tune penned by sax player Marco Pignataro with some really attractive bowed sections. The final piece Epilogue in which Eddie signs off is a tantalising 46 second gem that makes you wish it was longer.

This disc will, I’m certain, never be far from my CD player and I was surprised to learn that it was originally released in 2012. I’ve been fortunate to catch it second time round and if you haven’t come across it before I urge you to grab it now.

Steve Arloff



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