Jim Rotondi – Finesse – Cellar Music

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Sublime orchestral jazz from trumpeter, Jim Rotondi…

Jim Rotondi – Finesse – Cellar Music #CMR040623 – 77 Min. – ****

(Jim Rotondi – trumpet, with Notes & Tones Jazz Orchestra: Complete Personnel listing below)

Trumpeter, Jim Rotondi, has been an integral member of the super jazz group, One for All, who have carried the mantle of a Jazz Messengers type group over the last two decades. Presently Jim is residing in Graz, Austria, where he is a Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts. Residing in Europe, where jazz is still honored and musicians (especially in state sponsored orchestras) paid a living wage, Jim was presented with the unique opportunity to record an orchestral jazz with strings release. With the assistance of Jacob Helling, a composer/ arranger/ trumpet player, based out of Vienna, a dream project was brought to fruition. 

With American piano stalwart, Danny Grissett, and guest American artists (one track each), saxophonist, Dick Oatts, and trombonist, Steve Davis, the orchestra recorded thirteen track over two days in Austria.

The results are stunning, with a seamless blend, the brass and woodwind sections soar, surrounded by swirling strings on six tracks. Danny Grissett is featured prominently on four numbers. There is a polish befitting a major American big band, and a perusal of the European band members above reveals that most all double and triple on their woodwinds.

From the opener, “Ruth,” straight through to trombonist, Steve Davis, on the closer, “Miller Time,” it’s all good. Rotondi’s burnished trumpet brings a warmth and steady hand throughout. Given the chance to record his own compositions, backed by a full big band, and twenty piece orchestra had to be a life long dream. Orchestral jazz lovers get to reap the benefits as well…

—Jeff Krow

Jim Rotondi – Finesse

Dark Blue
Designated Hitter
Before Curtis
For Curtis
Going to the Sun
Prelude for 14 Strings and Flute
In Graz
Happy Feet
Miller Time

Performing Musicians:

Jim Rotondi – trumpet, with Notes & Tones Jazz Orchestra: Jacob Helling – arranger, conductor; Mario Gonzi – drums and co-leader; Daniel Nosig – trumpet, flugelhorn, co-leader; Tobias Weidinger – lead trumpet; Markus Pechmann, Simon Plotzender – trumpet, flugelhorn; Clemens Hofer, Mario Vavti, Johannes Herrlich, Christina Lachberger – trombones; Martin Fuss – alto sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Fabio Devigili – alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet; Michael Erian – tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Robert Unterkofler – tenor sax, clarinet; Herwig Gradischnig – baritone sax, bass clarinet; Danny Grissett – piano; Dick Oatts – soprano sax (#5); Steve Davis – trombone (#1). Orchestra strings on #1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11 – violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, bassoon, horn

More information through Cellar Music

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Album Cover for Jim Rotondi, Finesse

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