5 After 4 – Rome In A Day – Alma Records ACD62112, 71:53 ***:
(Johnny Johnson – woodwinds; Matt Horner – piano, Rhodes, organ; Peter Cardinali – bass, horn arrangements, organ; Vito Rezza – drums)
Jazz-fusion, or as it is sometimes known, jazz- rock, was defined by Richard S. Ginell as “… a mixture of jazz improvisation and the rhythm, timbres, and energy of rock music…”. 5 After 4 is a Canadian jazz-fusion quartet which is probably not all that well known to US audiences but with their newest project Rome in a Day might help to change that awareness.
The concept for the disc began when the group had completed a concert in Berlin and were on their way home, when Peter Cardinali and Vito Rezza decided to spend a day in Rome sightseeing. However the connection between that event and the song titles is tenuous at best. Nevertheless, leading off with “10,000 Days” there is a sense that there is going to be some lively sounds ahead. “Balena” delivers a different course with a Hammond B-3 bopping along. This seems to meld nicely with “Top Hat” where the overdubbing brings a whirlwind of saxes.
The compositions are all originals by various band members, but Vito Rezza, the drummer, is the principal contributor with six of the twelve tunes on the disc. The challenge with fusion recordings is in many ways no different than with mainstream records that use the American songbook as their framework: trying to find something new and interesting to say regardless of the material. Frequently fusion just seems to be more of the same thing. However in this case, there is enough invigorating material that has some interesting contemporary flow that gives compositions such as, “Mr. Govindas”, “Changing Of Seasons” and the title track “Rome In A Day” a real authenticity.
While not necessarily unforgettable, there are some nice moments on this disc, and for those who are into fusion, a new influence.
TrackList: 10,000 Days; Balena; Top Hat; Lee’s Mystery; Mr. Govindas; African Love Affair; Rome In A Day; And The Children Sing; Golly G; Changing Of Seasons; Animal Crackers
Jazz meets pop in this appealing 1970 Stan Getz vinyl reissue.