Jim Rotondi – 1000 Rainbows – Posi-Tone

by | Aug 3, 2010 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Jim Rotondi – 1000 Rainbows – Posi-Tone PR8062, 52:34 ****½:

(Jim Rotondi, trumpet; Joe Locke, vibes; Danny Grissett, piano; Barak Mori, bass; Bill Stewart, drums)

Jim Rotondi is one bad cat. He can purr on his trumpet or growl like a tiger on a hunt, whether with the collective hard bop super band, One for All, or in a quintet setting as a leader, like on his latest issue for Posi-Tone, 1000 Rainbows, where he is the sole horn. In his abilities, he so much brings to mind either Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard, as a take no prisoners trumpeter.

In a savvy move, Posi-Tone has paired Rotondi with vibes star, Joe Locke, on 1000 Rainbows, and the two make a great combination. Locke brings a sparkling sheen to the mix both comping behind Jim, playing his own glistening solos or teaming with pianist Danny Grissett, bassist, Barak Mori, and veteran drummer, Bill Stewart, to add percussion to balance Rotondi’s strut. Locke adds so much to a session lighting a fuse behind the other musicians and his effect is especially pronounced on both Grissett and Rotondi.

“Bizarro World” comes charging out as a strong opener. Stewart’s pulse bristles and Locke and Rotondi seem to be lit with energy. The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” features Locke, after the band plays several choruses of the familiar theme. Producer Marc Free and engineer Nick O’Toole again have the acoustics rock solid where Rotondi’s warm, burnished mid range talents are paired with well mixed drums, and crystal clear piano and vibe tones. Mixed and mastered at Studio 507 in Los Angeles, the acoustics are as good as you’ll find on conventional CD.

“One for Felix” initially has Rotondi’s presence felt center stage, but when Locke steps up. you immediately know he and Danny Grissett could have held the listener’s interest if Rotondi had sat out. The same could be said for most any track as the rhythm section is that tight.

Locke’s “Crescent Street” gave me a NOLA feel in its theme, and Joe really digs in mid track as the mallets fly. “Born to Be Blue” is a lovely ballad, and shows Jim’s tender side. You can imagine this tune being played late night on a third set, while looking out the window on a New York skyline. Bill Mobley’s “49th Street” benefits from Rotondi’s muted trumpet and Bill Stewart’s funky pulse. Bassist Barak Mori, gets some space to share the limelight with Grissett before Rotondi reasserts himself with Mori matching him with a steady bottom beat that he keeps up through Locke’s solo.

1000 Rainbows closes with “Not Like This” with a heavy-reverbed vibraphone from Joe teamed with Jim’s neoclassical horn lines. Just 2:49 in length it is a soft fade-out to the brightness of 1000 Rainbows. If only this light show could make its way across the country and not let the Big Apple get all the treats.

TrackList: Bizarro World, We Can Work It Out, One for Felix, 1000 Rainbows, Crescent Street, Born to Be Blue, Gravitude, 49th Street, Not Like This

– Jeff Krow

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