The Mike Longo Trio – A Celebration Of Diz And Miles – Consolidated Artists Productions CAP 1033 76:58 ****:
(Mike Longo – piano; Paul West – bass; Ray Mosca – drums)
Mike Longo knows his way around the piano. With a cool disposition and a clear technique he leads his trio through a set of compositions, either written by or associated with two of the most important figures in modern jazz: Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, and does them proud.
Recorded live at New York’s Baha’i Center’s John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, the audience was treated to a wholly unrehearsed concert with only a pre-determined set list to guide the band. Longo had been an important member of Dizzy’s quintet for nine years starting in 1966, and then had an ongoing musical tie to him for a further period. Thus he knew as much about his music as anyone. This shows in his interpretations of Dizzy’s material as it abounds with the requisite structural constructions associated with his compositions. Whether it’s “Con Alma” “Ow” or “A Night In Tunisia” Longo deftly engages each composition with a sure-footed approach as he develops attentively firm phrases that are undeniably in the moment.
Perhaps of more significance however, is the treatment Longo offers for the Davis-associated compositions. Whether they were structurally more interesting because they offered a different cadenced and harmonic facility than the Gillespie tunes, Longo seems to be more attuned to these pieces. Starting with “All Blues”, the band spins out the theme into its component parts to give it a consistency that is highly effective. “Milestones” and “So What” are delightfully rendered confirming that Longo is a sophisticated pianist who has a firm foothold in modern jazz. Bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca continually offer persuasive support, although on some tracks West appears to be over-miked giving some unpleasant reverberations.
A Celebration Of Diz And Miles is delivered with verve and is a tasteful and lively outing.
TrackList: All Blues; Con Alma; Milestones; Ow; Freddie Freeloader; Here Tiz; Summertime; Tour De Force; You Don’t Know What Love Is; So What; A Night In Tunisia