Charlie Mariano Savannah Samurai
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- by Charlie Mariano ~ Mirror ~ $11.35
- Released: July 13, 1999
- Label: Jazzline
CMJ - 7/26/99, p.33"...strikes a mellow, melancholy mood....a casual yet engaging field of sound....a record worth exploring."
JazzTimes - 3/00, p.98"...The work is open and spare, with an ethereal feeling that is enhanced by [his] musicianship, and the angualr lines of Juris' guitar, that create a heady tableau for a palette of warm color and grace within this idiom."
- 1.Children Steps
- 2.Luna Doone
- 3.Dark Alley
- 4.Ages Ago
- 5.Savannah Samurai
- 6.Waltz For Dani
- 7.Dark Alley 2
Personnel: Charlie Mariano (saxophone); Vic Juris (guitar); Dieter Ilg (bass); Jeff Hirshfield (drums).
Recorded at Topaz Studio, Cologne, Germany in Spring 1998.
Known lately for his world music excursions, saxophonist Mariano gets into a contemporary modern-jazz groove with neo-bop flourishes and moments of pure freedom. Guitarist Vic Juris lends the sounds of today on acoustic and electric guitars, bassist Dieter Ilg contributes the bottom-based slickness, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield offers the solid swing. Mariano plays alto and soprano on alternate tracks, and his earth-based, skyward observing sound has never sounded better. Writing chores are split between the four. There are two selections of the seven that have a definite feel akin to that of John Scofield. "Children's Steps" is a hip, funk-oriented number with a sax-bass unison, simple melody, and Native American flavoring la Jim Pepper. Juris adopts the lithe, slightly snarly tone of Sco' on this track, and on the New Orleans shuffle title cut as well. In the style of Ralph Towner, the acoustic sound of Juris sets up a deep meditational ostinato for bass and Mariano's gorgeous, soulful soprano during "Luna Doone" and the easy-flowing swing of "Ages Ago," another beauty. Mariano's signature expressiveness is most evident during "Waltz for Dani." There's also a first take and reprise of the kinetic bopper "Dark Alley," the initial version starting very slow as black bottom-bass tones speed up in crescendo tempo, eventually flying at breakneck RPMs, with Mariano's alto and Juris trading licks, but not lanes. In addition to these, the CD includes a four-part "Climate Suite" for the seasons: "Fall" has scattered leaves of melody tossed about in the wind; "Winter" is more diffuse with flute and sparse guitar assimilating a light snowfall; "Spring" sports a one-note bass ostinato firing up the rest in blooming counterpoint with sax warbling, guitar chirping, and drums fertilizing this greening process; and "Summer" has many free associations in varied, evolved duet situations, with sax and guitar occasionally chiming in. Of the many changes and phases that Mariano's long career in music has provided, he seems to have remained in his prime, on this, his best musical offering of the past two decades. Highly recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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