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|Lou Marini||Primary Artist|
|The Steve Pryor Band||Trombone|
|Mike Lingo||Bass Trombone|
|Bob Belden||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
Although he is best known for his association with numerous pop / rock groups, Lou Marini, Jr. is known among his jazz peers as one of the best jazz players in the business. His skill and creativity are on a par with any of the high profile jazz woodwind players and arranger / composers of today, including saxophonists Michael Brecker, Chris Potter and Joe Lovano, and arranger / composers Maria Schneider, Gil Evans and Bob Belden. In fact, Belden wrote the glowing liner notes for this project. You can read these liner notes at a well-known jazz website. Sadly, Lou Marini has all but been ignored by the jazz media, despite the respect he garners from his colleagues. "Lou's Blues" is not a collection of quasi-Basie or almost-Ellington. On the contrary, the CD is fresh, eclectic and adventurous. Indeed, the styles are so diverse and original that it may leave some more conservative minded big band fans confused and bewildered. This CD presents the incredible mind and skill of Lou Marini, reflecting the talent of a true "Renaissance Man," a jazz practioner of the highest echelon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Lou's Blues, a prime example of ultra-modern composing, arranging and improvising by Lou Marini Jr. and the Magic City Jazz Orchestra, may bring a smile to the face of many big band enthusiasts and leave others quite bewildered. It depends on one's point of view. With this CD, Lou Marini aptly displays diverse influences, including blues, rock and free jazz as well as more traditional rhythms, harmonies and melodic devices. In the course of this program, he skillfully presents those ideas in eight excellent charts that resist easy appraisal or labeling. Some may find them fresh and exhilarating, others enigmatic and wearisome. This author's opinion lies somewhere between those extremes. As a composer/arranger, Marini has plentiful creative ideas and seizes this opportunity to share them. In doing so, Marini tests the MCJO with elaborate compositions and arrangements that demand a very high level of musicianship. I must say that the ensemble is more than equal to this formidable task. This is a good thing, as the ensemble is in the forefront much of the time, with most of the improvised passages assigned to Marini. Marini plays tenor and soprano sax most of the way, flute on “Song for John” and alto on the ”country” section of “Rena/Country”. Other outstanding soloists include trumpeter Bo Berry, tenor saxophonists Neil McLean and Dave Amaral, guitarist Tom Wolfe, pianist Ray Reach and bassist Robert Dickson. The opening composition, ”Lou's Blues,” is a modal design that features swinging solos by Marini (tenor), Dickson and Wolfe. Second on the program is ”Looking with New Eyes,” a bright bossa nova originally written in 1972 for the Buddy Rich Band. The exemplary trombone soli in this tune frames astute solo statements by Marini (alto) and Berry. Marini's unorthodox notions surface on “Hip Pickles,” whose ”free” intro introduces a melody played by screaming trumpets and Clapton-esque guitar, prefacing a stormy interchange between Marini (alto) and Wolfe. Marini plays soprano and tenor on the dark-hued ”Odalisk,” soprano again on the late Weldon Irvine's funky “Mr. Clean,” flute and soprano on his diaphanous “Song for John.” “Dangerous Cargo” is a delightful change of pace, a romantic samba enhanced by Reach's tasteful piano and Marini's blazing tenor. The finale is presented in two parts, with the band swinging hard on the bluesy “Rena” to showcase captivating solos by Berry, McLean and Amaral. After a ten-second pause, the MCJO launches into the free-wheeling “Country,” an up-tempo hand-clapper planned (intentionally) to simulate a vinyl LP with its inescapable clicks, pops and surface noise. I can’t think of a better way to end this remarkably inventive session. This recording may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it should prove invigorating to those whose minds are open and whose taste buds are primed for a new experience.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.