Pietro Tonolo

Your Songs: The Music of Elton John

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Jazz musicians are always seeking relatively unexplored territory, as many standards and established jazz compositions have been recorded far too often. Saxophonist Pietro Tonolo is not the first jazz musician to release a CD of rocker Elton John's compositions, whose music initially seems rather unpromising for improvising. But Tonolo recruited pianist Gil Goldstein, bassist Steve Swallow and Paul Motian for this session and together they have some success. Tonolo sticks to tenor sax for most of the session, with Goldstein doubling on accordion to add some spice to "Tiny Dancer." Swallow's intricate solo sets up a surprising take of "Your Song" (one of John's earliest hits), with Tonolo making a delayed entrance on soprano sax following Goldstein's piano solo. The band is at their most adventurous with a rollicking take of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" leaves John's famous recording behind in the dust. At least one song, the bland "Rocket Man," simply doesn't work, as it comes off a bit lounge-like in spite of the quartet's best efforts. Tonolo closes the disc with two originals, including one "White Street" that he credits Elton John as his source of inspiration.

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