JazzTimes - 11/00, p.103
"...Finds the guitarist in company with more astute musicians who know too well that hot licks don't always make hot jazz....it's a pleasure to hear Azzolina's guitar prowess in a rewarding setting."
Personnel: Jay Azzolina (guitar); Jill Azzolina, Julie Eigenberg (vocals); Chris Potter (tenor saxophone); Charles Blenzig (piano); Jeff Beal (synthesizer); John Patitucci (acoustic & 6-string electric basses); Adam Nussbaum (drums).
Recorded at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, New York on January 10 & 11, 2000. Includes liner notes by Bill Milkowski and Jay Azzolina.
Personnel: Jay Azzolina (guitar); Julie Eigenberg (vocals); Chris Potter (tenor saxophone); Charles Blenzig (piano); Jeff Beal (synthesizer); John Patitucci (acoustic bass, 6-string bass); Adam Nussbaum (drums).
Audio Mixer: Michael Brorby.
Recording information: Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY (01/10/2000-01/??/2000).
Arranger: Jay Azzolina.
Apart from an intriguing arrangement of Kurt Weill's hauntingly lovely "My Ship," guitarist Jay Azzolina's first album as a leader in eleven years is devoted entirely to original compositions. What may come as a real surprise to those familiar with his earlier work is the straight-ahead nature of the compositions and of his quintet's playing style. Gone are the rockish tone and slick fusioneering of his previous solo work and his two albums with Spyro Gyra. Instead, Azzolina leads a quintet (guitar, tenor sax and piano trio) through a set that includes the spiky, bluesy strut of "Inside Pie Eyes," the minimalist "Black Waltz," and a difficult and highly original treatment of the "I Got Rhythm" chord changes entitled "Rhythms Change." Azzolina's tone is self-consciously traditional, warm and round with the occasional edge of John Scofield-style vinegar. His supporting group couldn't be more empathetic -- John Pattitucci spends most of his time on string bass (though it sounds like he's playing a fretless electric on "Marvelous Marvin") and drummer Adam Nussbaum keeps things well grounded while still creating lots of rhythmic interest. Best of all is tenor player Chris Potter, who spars with Azzolina throughout the album and keeps him on his toes. Highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson