Paul Cosentino


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There appears to be a small but energetic revival movement involving music from the 1920s and '30s. Don Neely's San Francisco-based Royal Society Jazz Orchestra has been issuing CDs that delve into the charts from this period. Now along comes the Boilermaker Jazz Band out of Pittsburgh, PA, headed by clarinet player Paul Cosentino. Cosentino uses the pretty much discarded complex Albert system of playing, which was taught by the well-known New Orleans clarinet teacher, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., during the early 1900s. Among his more famous pupils were Sidney Bechet and Barney Bigard. Using Albert, Cosentino's clarinet takes on a soulful, sometimes mournful, mahogany hue, which works well with the music and the style he plays it in which comes close to, but doesn't quite reach, New Orleans traditional. There are enough variations in style to keep the listener tuned in. All of the music on this set was written between 1902 and 1939, and most of it is played in an up-tempo manner. But there are some surprises. Latin rhythms were favored by the early New Orleans jazz players, and Cosentino's group recalls that with "Siboney," with Gerry Gagnon's quivering trombone taking the lead. The waltz "In the Good Old Summertime" is done as a rip-roaring swinger. "Little Grass Shack" has an uncredited singer backed by the banjo instead of ukelele. Other featured tracks highlighting the variety found here include a bluesy, melodic Cosentino clarinet on "If I Had You," and boogie-woogie piano on a risqué "Shoe Boogie." Calling this group a "band" may be a bit of an overstatement -- the biggest it gets is seven pieces. The quartet format is used for six tracks and a trio for one. But whatever the configuration, the outcome is an exciting, spirited, and fun-filled session. Recommended.

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