This is the second CD as soloist for pianist Dick Conte, who has also been a longtime jazz DJ on both KJAZ and KCSM in the San Francsco Bay Area. (His first was “Dick Conte Quartet – Live at the 2001 San Jose Jazz Festival.”) His drummer is an author, his saxophonist a psychologist and his bassist an electrician-carpenter. Since that first public appearance at the San Jose Jazz Festival the band has worked as a unit. Choices of the ten tunes shows a reverence for classic Great American Songbook material such as Kern’s Long Ago and Far Away and Desylvia-Brown’s Broadway. The Viennese influence is seen in track eight by Lehar going into one of my longtime favorite jazz standards, Romberg’s Softly As In a Morning Sunrise.
Very melodic bassist Bill Moody seems to be the foundation of this quartet. Pianist Conte keeps a very democratic balance of solos and often delays his own til near the end of the number. The title tune by Henry Mancini does have him heard at the entrance, and this track is one of the standouts on the CD. Saxist Steve Heckman switches from sax to flute for a terrific solo. The closing track is Conte’s only original on the album, and at nearly ten minutes is one of the two longest tracks on the disc. Recording quality and balance is just fine. If you have trouble finding this CD, email Dick at email@example.com
TrackList: Sweet Georgia Bright, Crazy He Calls Me, Broadway, Slow Hot Wind, Just Friends, Long Ago and Far Away, I Remember Zoot, Yours Is My Heart Alone, Softly As In a Morning Sunrise, Spiral Staircase.
– John Henry