(Jeff Barone, guitar; Joe Magnarelli, trumpet; Ron Oswanski, Hammond B-3 organ; Mike Dubaniewicz, alto sax; Rudy Petschauer, drums; special guest, Jack Wilkins, guitar, tracks 5 & 11)
Jeff Barone has largely been unknown outside of the jazz circles of New York’s jazz scene. Thanks to Jazzed Media’s Graham Carter; and fellow jazz cohort and co-producer, Jack Wilkins, Barone’s CD, Open Up, should get Jeff some well-deserved exposure.
Wilkins plays on two guitar duets with Barone: Jenna’s Song and Quiet Now. They are both introspective and feature a quite beautiful interaction between Barone and Wilkins. Jenna’s Song uses a bit of Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat Major at the beginning of the composition, whereas Quiet Now, was written by the great pianist, Denny Zeitlin. It became a staple of Bill Evans’ repertoire. Both tracks are gorgeous.
The rest of the CD is a bit more up-tempo-such as the hard boppish, Duban’s Groove, which features some stylish alto sax by Mike Dubaniewicz, and choruses by the brilliant trumpeter, Joe Magnarelli. New Samba’s groove shows Barone on nylon string guitar and Magnarelli on flugelhorn. The Brazilian themed If You Go Away is a Jacque Brel composition and the Hammond B-3 chorus is a nice complement. The standard Falling in Love with Love is taken both up-tempo and laid back in the master take and the alternate take respectively.
Herbie Hancock’s Toys (from his early Blue Note recording, Speak Like a Child) features Magnarelli’s warm tone in a swinging version. I liked both the use of the Hammond B-3 in place of a piano, as well as Barone’s blues licks. Barone and company provide a great mix of moods and this CD comes highly recommended.
– Jeff Krow