CaioJazz Review        Buy Introspective

by Elfio Nicolosi (Caio Jazz Italy)

(Gratefully translated by the talented Mike Aidala)

For lovers of fusion I wish to point out the new cd of young, excellent, New York saxophonist, Rich Lamanna, Introspective. It is a project clearly inspired by the music of Weather Report or Jaco Pastorious, to whom Lamanna dedicates JacoPastOverUs, a piece that clearly revives the sound of the great group conducted by Zawinul and Shorter. The album is constituted for the most part of original pieces by Lamanna, but it does not lack references to the greats of jazz. In particular it is worthy to note Giant Steps by John Coltrane and Moose the Mooche by Charlie Parker, both musicians have had a particular infuence on Lamanna. In particular of Coltrane the same saxophonist has said, "When I listened to Coltrane for the first time I was 12 years old, it was then that I knew that I wanted to play the saxophone. I was enchanted by his sound, even though I had no idea of what he was doing harmonically. From that day, my objective has been to grasp and learn what he was playing".

Other pieces of note on the album are Hopetown, which revives the Miles Davis electricity towards the end of 70's and above all You Just Left which opens the album with a beautiful solo melody on the soprano saxophone by the same Lamanna which impresses by its approach and impeccable style. One must not forget the most solid support of the group, 'The Last Word', clearly of afro-Latin inspiration, in which stands out a striking rhythm section presenting some legendary musicians, namely drummer Kenwood Dennard, who among others has played with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal, etc; the Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuna (Ella Fitgerald, U2, Paul McCartney, Al Jarreau), and steel drummer Othello Molineaux (Jaco Pastorious, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey, Carlos Santana).

In conclusion, I believe that for the lovers of fusion, Introspective will deliver a pleasant surprise. It is certainly equal to the best of similar albums; those who are passionate of a more traditional jazz instead may listen to the excellent solo performances and to an always enjoyable music.